Councils are changing their definition of potholes to cut road maintenance costs.
New guidelines at Lambeth council in London state that holes less than 40mm (1.57 inches) deep will no longer be repaired whereas holes 25mm (0.98in) deep used to be filled in.
The council has also reduced the amount of times that road inspections are carried out – instead of every four months roads are now checked every six months.
The move by Lambeth comes at the same time that research carried out by Labour’s shadow roads minister John Woodcock estimated that repairing potholes cost £13bn a year, with an average of 10 potholes for every mile of road.
The Lambeth plan is expected to be adopted by around 75% of councils where road maintenance may be seen as one of the least painful budgets to cut.
Lorna Campbell, cabinet member for environment and sustainability at Lambeth Council, said: “Because of the unprecedented budget pressures we have had to increase intervention limits and response times and decrease inspection frequencies to achieve a saving.”
Woodcock said: “Potholes frustrate road users more than anything and it’s clear that the government has no serious long term plan to get our roads back into shape. Instead of continually patching up knackered road surfaces with a bucket of tar we need a proper strategic plan for local roads which could save taxpayers money a fortune in the long term.”