TRANSPORT: Roads have more holes than Swiss Cheese

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Willie Rennie has today said that the new Transport Minister must tackle Scotland’s crumbling roads as he revealed that the number of potholes on Scotland’s trunk roads fixed last year fell below 10,000.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Rennie, former Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth revealed that 9,679 potholes were fixed in 2021/22, down from 13,354 in 2017/18.

Mr Rennie said:  “Scotland’s trunk roads have more holes than Swiss cheese.  In the past the cost of repairing all of Scotland’s roads has been estimated at well north of a billion pounds. It’s not just frustrating to drivers, it’s dangerous too.

“While we should be encouraging people to move towards more environmentally friendly means of transport where possible, across vast swathes of Scotland there is still no alternative to the car. Road users pay vast sums in tax, they deserve to rely on smooth and well-maintained roads.

“The new Transport Minister must ensure that Scotland’s trunk roads are not allowed to fall into disrepair.”

Index Heading: Transport Scotland

LibDem spokesman Willie Rennie and Jenny Gilruth with Humza Yousaf.

Willie Rennie (North East Fife) (Scottish Liberal Democrat Party): To ask the Scottish Government what information it holds on how many potholes have been repaired in each of the last five years.

Jenny Gilruth: Transport Scotland, through its Trunk Road Operating Companies and Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO) Concessionaires, is responsible for the management and maintenance of the strategic trunk road network, including motorways. Repair of potholes on all other roads is the responsibility of the local authorities.

The Scottish Government fully funds the inspection and repair of all potholes that present, or could present, an immediate hazard to trunk road users. These are defined as Category 1 defects within the term maintenance contract, which also sets out strict timescales for their repair. Following identification of Category 1 pothole defects, the Operating Companies are required to make the defect safe by 6am the following morning, preferably by completing a permanent repair. Where this is not possible then a temporary repair is required within the same timescale with permanent repairs required 28 days. The following table shows the number of Category 1 potholes identified and repaired in each of the last five whole years.

Financial Year Number of Potholes

2017-2018 13,354;  2018-2019 11,989; 2019-2020 12,660; 2020-2021 12,949; 2021-2022 9,679 

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