Council’s failure to hit target on road repairs ‘potentially fatal’

Conservative councillor Nick Cook
Conservative councillor Nick Cook
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The city council’s failure to fix roads is creating an “unacceptable safety hazard” and could have “potentially fatal consequences”.

During 2017/18, the council failed every month to hit its 90 per cent target for making emergency road defects safe within 24 hours.

The authority’s Corporate Performance Report shows the council achieved an average success rate of 53 per cent each month. That figure plummeted to just 35 per cent in November last year.

An opposition councillor said the failure to get to grips with the problem was putting vulnerable people at risk of injury, while a road safety charity has raised concerns the inaction increases the likelihood of serious collisions.

Cllr Nick Cook, Conservative transport spokesman, said: “These figures paint a damning picture, showing that the council administration is failing to deliver on the most fundamental of services. “That almost half of emergency defects are failing to be made safe within 24 hours presents an unacceptable safety hazard to residents, particularly the elderly, disabled and children.

“Rather than spend time on social media fawning over their own proposals to shut down central Edinburgh, administration councillors – and the Green councillors to which they are beholden - should urgently seek to expedite progress of its long overdue road repairs improvement plan.”

In 2017, the council received 130 compensation claims regarding potholes and paid out £9,415.

Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “It is disappointing to see that Edinburgh City Council are continually missing their target to make emergency road defects safe within 24 hours. “Ensuring that road surfaces are kept in a safe condition is vitally important, as poorly maintained roads can contribute to devastating crashes with potentially fatal consequences. For cyclists and motorcyclists, this is particularly concerning because they are most at risk from defective road surfaces.

“Investment in road repairs is a must to help prevent the huge cost to society of a serious crash.” The council has put a road improvement plan in place to try and get on top of the problems.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “We recognise the need to improve the way we maintain our roads. That is why this administration has introduced a roads improvement plan to address the issues affecting our performance.

“The plan will ensure improvements in key areas such as how we inspect and repair road defects and response times. We have also introduced training for our inspectors to ensure that defects are identified appropriately and we have realigned our maintenance teams to be able to respond to reports more effectively.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Kevin Lang called on the council to provide a better service.

He said: “The performance of the SNP and Labour in terms of fixing Edinburgh’s roads has been truly woeful.

“These defects are a serious safety issue for motorists, cyclists and users of public transport, yet these latest figures show the council is nowhere near meeting its own performance target. It is another example of how this administration is simply failing the city when it comes to the delivery of basic council services”