Economy Politics World

Pothole problems continue as funding falls short

Olympian Marc Jenkins has joined calls for safer roads in Wales as figures show councils need to spend £36 million a year to fix roads but investment is still falling short.

The Welsh triathlete said damaged roads in Wales are just too dangerous to cycle on.

Jenkins broke his thumb and dislocated his shoulder after hitting a pothole in Bridgend.

I rode through the edge of what appeared to be a puddle and it was hiding a massive pothole which was about a metre long, a metre wide and about 16cm deep and I hit and there was a big bang. I broke my thumb, dislocated my shoulder, cracked my helmet, and I was actually relatively lucky I think.

We train a lot in various countries around the world and I don’t ride on any roads like ours and not in a good way. It not safe for motorists, for anybody, for pedestrians.



There is a £2.8 million average funding shortfall per authority according to the annual ALARM survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

There are also big discrepancies between local authorities. Some have the equivalent of £22,200 per mile while others have just £3,400.

Local authorities say the amount they have to spend to carry out one time fixes continues to rise.

Last year 52,682 potholes were filled in Wales but it would take 8 years to catch up on the backlog.

The AIA says there needs to be a sustained investment equivalent to an extra £1.5 billion per year for ten years to bring the road network up to scratch.

The Welsh Local Government Association says additional funding will go towards ongoing work to repair the most damaged stretches of road:

In 2017/18 the Welsh Government allocated £30m to local authorities to maintain and prevent the deterioration of the local highway network. A further £60m has been provided by Welsh Government over three years to support a local government public highway refurbishment programme.

This investment by has been warmly welcomed by local authorities as it allows an ongoing works, including the resurfacing of the worst stretches of highway, as opposed to short term ‘patch and mend’ repairs. In the face of ongoing financial pressure, local authorities will continue to work constructively with Welsh Government to identify the level of funding needed to maintain the highway asset.


The Welsh Government says they have invested £300 million per year to maintain and improve motorways and trunk roads across Wales.

The network is regularly inspected and any defects such as potholes with immediate or imminent implications for safety are addressed as a matter of urgency.

Local authorities are responsible for maintaining local roads and generally fund this activity from the block grant which they receive annually from the Welsh Government for all their services. However the draft budget, announced in October for 2019/20, includes £60 million for a road refurbishment scheme to repair the damage caused by a series of hard winters and last summer’s heatwave.


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