More than 100,000 potholes are estimated to have been reported to Lincolnshire County Council last year, as the authority faces a £12 million hole in the road (budget) itself.
Lincolnshire County Council data for 2021 shows 15,314 reports regarding potholes were made to either the Fix My Street service or the council’s own portal.
According to a council spokesperson, each report accounts for an average of seven potholes, which we estimate means up to 107,198 potholes could have been reported.
The figure is also in stark contrast to a recent survey by TGA Concrete which looked at Google’s keyword planner and found there were just 264 pothole-related searches every month in Lincolnshire. This accounts for 3.4 searches per 100,000 people.
Those behind the report said it showed Lincolnshire has some of the best roads in the country, a finding in direct opposition to the council’s figures and reports local media receive on a regular basis.
It comes as the county council faces a massive gap in its road maintenance funds after government slashed its funding by 25% last year.
At a meeting of its senior leaders on Wednesday, bosses continued to push the message in their latest budget as they raised council tax by 3% to tackle social care issues, and looked to make nearly £10 million of savings across several departments.
In response the authority has started a “Fix Our Funds to Fix Our Roads” campaign.
Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Unfortunately in this case, looking at the amount of Google searches that use the word pothole is nowhere near the reality of the situation for Lincolnshire residents.
“Our county is in dire need of the missing £12 million of roads maintenance funds that the government cut from our budget.
“That missing 25% of government money, if put back into our budget, will make a huge difference to the people and businesses of Lincolnshire.”
He said the “vital” money would cover 37 miles of road maintenance and fill 24,000 potholes.
“We know through our interactions with residents and businesses that the state of the roads, in particular the pothole plague that we are fighting against, is one of the biggest issues we all face on a daily basis.
“Based on the disconnect between the search engine survey and our roads reality, it could be argued our residents don’t need to look on an internet search engine if they have an issue with the road network in Lincolnshire.
“Instead, they know […] they can come to us directly and they will be listened to.
“This is why it’s so important for everyone to continue being involved with our campaign to get the missing millions reinstated to our highways team.”