Fife has been warned of an “unfolding disaster” on its worsening road conditions if more funding is not found to tackle the growing number of pot holes on the road.
Fife Council’s road maintenance team say it is struggling to keep up with the repairs of around 6000 pot holes on the region’s roads – blaming a combination of budget cuts and damage caused in March by the severe weather brought by the Beast From The East.
Latest statistics presented to councillors at this week’s economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee reveal that 24,734 road defects were reported to the local authority in 2017/18, a jump of more than 2000 on the previous year.
The committee was told that situation will get worse over the next five years unless significant funding is found.
The council’s road maintenance department now receives £11m less than it did five years ago.
Mr Crowe, the Fife authority’s roads and transportation manger said: “The number of road defects has increased. In addition, our performance in repairing them has decreased.
“Both issues have been impacted by the very long winter and the particularly severe red and amber conditions in February and March.”
Mr Crowe said his department started the financial year with a backlog of around 10,600 potholes – 6,000 more than last year – and added: “There will be a bit of a catch-up and we’ll see how that goes.”
Around 76 per cent of the worst potholes were dealt within the target 24 hours, compared to 94.5 per cent in 2016/17. Repairs on category two defects were also significantly down.
Mr Crowe admitted that the performance had been disappointing, but told councillors that the priority during the most severe weather periods was to prioritise the gritting and clearing of snow on Fife’s road infrastructure, work carried out by officers normally charged with road repairs.
A new ‘Find and Fix’ trial is currently being trialled across Fife in a bid to stem the growing problem.
However, Lib Dem Cllr Jane-Ann Liston said the data and cuts in budget highlighted an “unfolding disaster, just as we predicted.”