Council ‘no potholes’ claim is ‘laughable’

The condition of Edinburgh's roads make motorists angry. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The condition of Edinburgh's roads make motorists angry. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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CLAIMS from transport chiefs there are no potholes waiting to be fixed on the Capital’s roads have been dismissed as “laughable” by motorists.

Edinburgh is among a group of Scottish local authorities, including West Lothian, where council bosses say their pothole repairs backlog was completely clear at the end of last year.

The claim comes despite figures showing Edinburgh had the worst roads in Scotland over the last three years, with 125,425 potholes reported.

Motorist leaders said the city’s response smacked of “complacency” and could damage future bids for repairs funding from central government.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It’s laughable – it all comes down to how you define a pothole.

“Within their parameters of what’s considered a dangerous pothole and whether it needs to be repaired, they may be able to claim that. But anyone driving around Edinburgh today knows there are potholes there.”

In response to a request for information on how many craters were waiting to be fixed at the end of 2013, Edinburgh and West Lothian both said none.

“This highlights two things – worryingly, that the council can be seen to be sitting back, resting on its laurels and saying everything is fine when clearly it’s not,” said Mr Greig.

“Secondly, that drivers aren’t reporting potholes enough and clearly the reporting system isn’t working if there are no potholes on the council’s records. The system needs to be changed but also drivers need to make it work for them – if you see a pothole, report it.”

Transport leaders, who do not have fixed criteria for defining potholes and investigate each case, said their response was determined by the number of defects reported and fixed within a specific period of time.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport leader, said: “No-one would ever deny that we have potholes or that roads need to be repaired. We are certainly not complacent. This year the council has doubled its budget for roads and pavements.

“Part of that was spent on bringing in hot teams for every neighbourhood partnership which are equipped to take complaints, monitor and carry out repairs. I recognise the public wishes to see more investment and that’s what we’re trying to do.”