POTHOLE WATCH: It's time to tackle our terrible roads

It's National Pothole Day today (Thursday, March 8).

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 5:02 am
Ryan Dickens sent in this picture of a pothole in Church Street, Rushden, which damaged two tyres on his BMW

But this is very much a local issue too.

The shocking state of many of our roads is something that affects us all.

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And it’s getting worse.

That’s why the Northants Telegraph is launching a campaign this week to improve the surfaces of our roads.

Whether you’re a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, potholes are a costly and dangerous menace as vehicles attempt to swerve to avoid a looming crater or bounce through them risking uncertain damage or causing an accident.

Many people have been left counting the personal cost of a close encounter with a pothole and felt the frustration of wondering why, when we pay so much in various taxes, the roads which are at the heart of all aspects of daily life are in such bad way.

Of course, potholes are not a new problem and the authorities responsible for tackling them are well aware of the issue – but the dramatic variations in temperature and weather conditions in recent weeks has exacerbated the issue.

Let us be clear, we do not blame our local authorities and councils for the dire state of some of our roads and the purpose of this campaign is not to unfairly criticise them or their highways teams.

In recent years they have had their budgets severely pruned and difficult choices have had to be made.

But enough is enough.

The road network is core infrastructure for the economy, for residents and for the emergency services. It is vital it is improved.

So this is what we are asking of you today.

Send us a photo or video of a pothole that is causing you greatest concern. You can do that by email, by post at 10 Headlands, Kettering NN15 7HP, or on our social media pages.

At the same time include a few details of where it is. Please copy this information to the county council.

Make sure that when you are taking a photo you do so safely and do not put yourself at risk from traffic.

For our part, we will be speaking to the council about the pothole concerns that you raise and, working with our sister newspapers across England, will support them in any lobbying of central government for additional funding.

Potholes may sound trivial. They are anything but. They have the potential to cause serious accidents and inflect substantial damage on our vehicles.

Improving our roads is essential to making our communities safer and better places in which to live and work.

Mr Pothole’s legal challenge

‘Pothole armageddon’ starts today (Thursday) as a county campaigner challenges his county council over the state of the roads.

Brackley’s deputy mayor Mark Morrell – known as Mr Pothole – is landing Northamptonshire County Council with a legal challenge.

He will serve two Section 56 notices (of the Highways Act 1980) citing the council’s failure to maintain two roads in the south of the county.

He also criticised Highways England which he said was spending too much on ‘smart motorways’ and not enough on keeping roads in good shape.

A county council spokesman said: “This has been one of the most severe winters in recent years with three major snow events and about 100 gritting runs carried out so far.

“If a defect meets our intervention criteria we undertake repairs within set timescales.”