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Depth of Kent's pothole problem revealed

A survey has revealed the true depth of Kent's pothole problem - with almost 15,000 reported in one year alone.

The total depth of all the craters combined would equal 167 double decker buses stacked on top of each other, which is 10 times the height of Canterbury Cathedral.

A freedom of information request to Kent County Council (KCC) and Medway Council revealed a total of 14,698 potholes were highlighted in 2016, each with an average depth of 5cm.

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A pothole. Library image.
A pothole. Library image.

The research, carried out by Confused.com, calculated the depth of all the potholes combined as 735m - almost half a mile - by multiplying the minimum pothole depth provided by the authority by the number of holes reported.

However, Surrey comes out on top for having the deepest pothole problem in south east, followed by Oxfordshire, with Kent falling into third place.

The figures also show Kent authorities handed out considerably less in compensation for damage to vehicles caused by potholes than other counties, at just £26,374.

That includes Hampshire, which dished out a massive £152,630 in compensation despite having 1,213 fewer potholes than Kent.

Toby Howe, senior highway manager for KCC Highways, says this shows the council acts quickly to fix road issues.

He said: "What that shows is - as a national figure - Kent does pay out very little because we do have very specific targets to make sure we know which potholes to repair.

"Compensation claims happen if we haven't met our own criteria - so if we're aware of a pothole and we didn't repair it in time.

"We have a really good reporting system where you can go online and it will show the location. You can track the progress of the report as well so you can see when it’s timed in for a repair.

"We have 5,500 miles of road so things will be missed but we're relying on the public to help us in reporting the potholes they see."

Kent's pothole problem is deepening
Kent's pothole problem is deepening

In the same period, authorities in the south east spent a whopping £12,206,226 repairing potholes, with the county of Kent contributing £1,386,097 to that total.

Potholes are often a contentious issue in Kent. In June this year, Hythe cyclist Clare Pryke called for better road maintenance after suffering serious injuries when she hit a dip in the road.

KCC launched a major campaign to reduce potholes in April, and last month, committed to spending £5.2 million filling holes before Christmas.

Potholes are an issue in Kent
Potholes are an issue in Kent

Around a third of motorists in the UK say their car has been damaged by a pothole at some stage.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: "Potholes are a major bugbear among drivers, not least because of the damage they do to our vehicles – around £3.1 million worth of damage, which has been paid out by almost half of the UK’s councils.

“If drivers experience a bump in the road, they should report it to their local council as soon as possible before the problem gets any worse.

"The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well.”

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