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Ten important facts about potholes

  1. Long accusing government of throwing money into a hole, critics can now actually say it with accuracy. The administration has announced it will LITERALLY THROW MONEY INTO A HOLE IN THE GROUND. Or in fact, many holes.

    In this week’s budget, Chancellor George Osborne declared he would make £200 million available to local authorities to repair their roads.

    While it’s a welcome move, we’re not entirely sure £200 million will be enough to fix Britain’s godawful roads.

    The RAC agrees. Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC director, says the £200 million isn’t nearly enough; no, our road maintenance backlog stretches to some £10.5 billion worth of repair. Which means the cash will go less than two per cent of the way to addressing the problem.

    To give you some idea of the scale of the problem, a company called Trusted Dealers has pulled together some stats on potholes. Read on for some holey research…

  2. The South West saw the most potholes filled over the last year

    24,289 potholes were repaired in the South West during 2013, with the North West (22,347) coming in second highest. The lowest? Believe it or not, it was London, with just 3,102 potholes repaired. Top Gear is based in London and this fact does not surprise Top Gear.

  3. A pothole has to be at least 40mm in depth to be considered a pothole

    If it’s less than four centimetres deep, it’s not a pothole. It’s, erm, a potholelet, maybe. Please note that not all cavities deeper than 40mm are necessarily potholes, however. The Channel Tunnel, for example, is rather deeper, but does not require filling with tarmac by a sweaty man in a high-vis jacket.

  4. Local authorities are getting better at filling potholes

    Yes, the situation is bad, but it was worse. 31 per cent more potholes were filled in 2013 than were filled in 2012. Unfortunately we’re creating holes faster than we’re filling them.

  5. The ideal frequency for road resurfacing is between 10 and 20 years

    Which means, potentially, that if a pothole breaks through six generations of road, your car could be rolling on Victorian roading. Again, if you’ve driven around London recently, this fact may not surprise you.

  6. The average cost of repairing a UK pothole is £58

    Or, in London, the equivalent of a packet of (artisanal) salt and vinegar crisps.

  7. Local authorities receive an average of 363 compensation claims each year as a result of potholes

    Mostly these compensation claims cover damage to wheels or bodywork, but in extreme cases will be seeking to recover the cost of the helicopter employed to hoist the victim out of an especially deep pothole.

  8. 59,353 Ford Focuses would fit inside the UK's potholes

    Funny one this. Trusted Dealers measured the Focus at 1484mm in height, and with 2,202,000 potholes recorded in 2011, reckoned on nearly sixty thousand Fords fitting snugly inside. If you chopped the Fords into little pieces, obviously.

    Beatles’ fans will be disappointed to note that it was not revealed how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

  9. The UK's pothole situation is slowly becoming a farce

    Consider that in 2008, there were 853,614 potholes recorded across the country. Last year, there were 2,167,000 potholes dotted around Britain. If this rate of progress continues, Top Gear calculates our roads will be 100 per cent hole by 2020.

  10. 84 Westminster Clock Towers would fit inside the UK's potholes last year

    Again, measuring the Tower at 96.31m tall, and with 2.16m potholes recorded last year, Trusted Dealers reckoned on 84 clock towers squeezing into the UK’s road abscesses.

  11. You could buy a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected military vehicle for each Local Authority in the UK

    Here’s an alternative solution. Instead of filling the potholes, the government could instead purchase a weapons-grade military vehicle for each of the 455 local authorities in Britain, vehicles which don’t give a damn whether they’re rolling over potholes or not.

    With your average MRAP costing around £320k, that leaves plenty of spare change and, of course, future-proofs our nation against otter invasion. You’re welcome, Britain.

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