Potholes are a blight on our roads, and caused an average of £2.4m of damage to motor vehicles in the past year. Getting potholes fixed, especially in some counties, can take years, and the unpredictable weather causes more to develop as fast as they’re patched.
With one pothole filled every 19 seconds, it’s a regular sight on our roads to see a corner marked off and being repaired. But who is arranging this, and who should you contact if you find a pothole? Particularly surrounding commercial properties, there is often a question regarding who this responsibility lies with.
Usually, it is a public body such as Highways England or a local council, that is responsible for fixing potholes. However, this does depend on the road in question, as the answer will vary, especially around London.
If you see a pothole and you’re unsure of who is responsible, you can contact Highways England who will be able to inform you. The below can be used for a rough guide on who is responsible for fixing potholes.
|Type of Road||Authority Responsible|
|England, Scotland and Wales: Local Roads, B roads, small A roads||Local Councils (County not Borough)|
|England: Motorways and major A roads||Highways England|
|Greater London: Red Routes||Transport for London|
|Scotland: Motorways and major A roads||Traffic Scotland|
|Wales: Motorways and major A roads||Traffic Wales|
|Northern Ireland: All road types||DfI Roads|
You can also easily report any potholes on FixMyStreet.com, a site that alerts the local, relevant authority on the issue immediately.
When a road isn’t owned by a local authority or traffic board, who is responsible for fixing the potholes? According to the Occupiers Liability Act of 1984, the occupier of any premises is required to abide by “the common duty of care” which applies in England and Wales, and similar acts apply in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The common duty of care essentially reads that the person occupying the land must endeavour to ‘not allow injury to come to any visitors’ of said land. This is commonly taken to mean that this includes potholes, and therefore it is often the landlord or tenant, depending on agreement in a contract, who must fix the potholes.
For example, a business park owner may ask the company who has the most vehicles accessing the site to take primary responsibility for the road condition leading to their lot. However, they may also ask each user of a lot to maintain their car parks, and any roads that only they use.
Within pothole repair, there are five key methods for fixing a pothole, some of which are more permanent than others. These are:
The most common form of pothole repair, throw and roll is as basic as it sounds. Simply throw the asphalt mix into the pothole, and roll over it with a heavy vehicle to pack it in. This could be a bulldozer or a roller – any heavy vehicle can be used. This is a temporary solution, and one that never works permanently.
This method is preferred for potholes that can have more time dedicated to them. To begin with, the pothole is cleared of water and debris, before being cut around the edges and finally filled with patch material before being compacted. It lasts a long time and is second on the list of successful methods, below completely replacing the road.
Spray injection requires specialist equipment but, as such, it can be done much quicker and to greater effect than other methods. A specialist machine is used to remove water and debris, before a binder is sprayed inside the pothole. Then the asphalt/aggregate mix is injected in, before covering it with a layer of fresh tarmac. This method is popular with commercial clients who need a quick and professional service.
This method begins with the ‘throw and roll’ method, before placing a ring of tack (a sticky asphalt-based material) along the edge to seal in the pothole, and then coating the ring to stop tyres tracking it. This makes it more durable than the ‘throw and roll’ method.
This is the most effective, yet longest and most disruptive method. The old road is stripped back to a flat layer, before being re-tarmacked.
Grounds Care Group has a variety of qualified pothole repair contractors who are able to assist with patch repairs across a range of sectors, without affecting your day. We can do both one-off repairs and regular maintenance to keep your private roads up to scratch.