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Government backs Cycling Charity’s pothole reporting website
The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged £30,000 to enable CTC, the national cycling charity to revamp its ‘Fill That Hole’ pothole reporting website and develop a new app compatible with smartphones running Android software. The current system is only available on iPhone.
Cycling and Roads Minister Robert Goodwill made the announcement on a visit to Oldham (23rd Dec). The cash is part of a £5.8 billion additional spend on highways announced in the summer.
Robert Goodwill MP said “At best they are an irritation but at worst they can damage vehicles and pose a serious danger to cyclists. That is why we want people to tell councils where to find them so they can fill them in. This app means more people are going to be able to report potholes more easily.
“Filling potholes in quickly is only one half of the story. Research has also shown a long-term approach to road maintenance, rather than patch and mend, can save councils and taxpayers money and potentially save lives thanks to better road conditions.”
Since CTC launched the ‘Fill that Hole’ website in 2007 there have been over 91 thousand pothole reports filed by cyclists and other road users. The development of the site will make the system more user friendly for road users and an invaluable tool for highways authorities.
‘Fill that Hole’ sends local authorities up-to-the-minute information about potholes which the council may not otherwise have known about, allowing them to identify trouble spots needing action fast. In the past year around £23.8m was paid in compensation by local authorities across England due to the poor condition of their roads according to the Asphalt industry Alliance.
The support for the new app and improved website comes as more local authorities adopt new Government guidelines which urge councils to plan extensive maintenance well in advance, rather than years of costly ‘patching’ as potholes appear – saving the taxpayer money.
Over 9 million iPhone users can download the website’s current app to report potholed roads to their councils; the new app could boost that figure to over 26 million, and will make it easier and faster to submit potholes. In the meantime, road users are encouraged to report potholes on the website and when the winter damage to roads is at its greatest.
CTC originally developed its app for cyclists, who can receive life-changing injuries from accidents caused by potholes, but it is now used by all types of road user, from delivery drivers to motorists concerned about potential damage to their vehicle.
Cyclist and CTC member Graham Wood from Macclesfield said “I have used the Fill That Hole service a few times in the last 3 years. It’s easy to use and works! I had great success with our lane which was in very poor repair I reported pot holes several times and they were usually patch repaired within 3 weeks.These repairs never lasted long and after continuing to report the holes, eventually a highways engineer came out to inspect the lane, he agreed it was unacceptable but said there was not enough funds to make proper repairs. Last year however the whole lane was resurfaced in 4 inches of tarmac, super job done and should be good for 10 years at least.”
CTC, Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said “CTC has been working to ensure roads are safe for cycling since our foundation in 1878. We are delighted to have the Government’s support for our ‘Fill That Hole’ website and app, which are already highly effective ways for road users to get potholes filled. This partnership with the Department for Transport will enable us to provide this free service to far more cyclists and other road users. It’s also a great example of CTC and the Government working together to get Britain cycling.”