Potholes – Let’s not pretend Edinburgh can keep on doing more with less.


Having read Brian Monteith’s latest opinion article on potholes I have to say it feels like I’ve found a sole-mate. The snow covered streets provided me with a brief respite, but the state of the roads in my Ward is utterly depressing. Indeed, some appear to have grown under the blanket of snow to such an extent that fitting a manhole cover to them may be easier than patching them.

It is important to remember, however, that the problem goes far beyond our roads. This week I received a letter from Cameron, a partially sighted pupil at Braidburn School who uses a wheelchair. He asked me to “please fix the pavement” adjacent to a pedestrian crossing he uses as there is a risk he could fall out of his chair.

Of course, there is nothing special about Cameron’s experience, you don’t have to be in a wheelchair or be partially sighted to have a problem with our pavements. Indeed, when I went along to have a look at the section of footpath Cameron reported I wasn’t surprised to see the source of the problem was a substandard reinstatement undertaken after a utility repair.

All too often utility repairs are not undertaken properly and eventually cause us problems. That’s why the Council must keep on top of utility companies to ensure repairs are done to the right standard.

This is where Brian Monteith and I part company. He thinks I’m “utterly wrong” to say that a significant factor contributing to the problem is cuts imposed by the SNP Government.  Whereas I agree with Audit Scotland when they reported that road maintenance and inspection funding is around 14% lower than the minimum acceptable. Indeed, I think most people in Edinburgh will agree that potholes have multiplied over the past 10 years irrespective of which Political Party has been running our Capital.

The problem we face is that  cuts to Edinburgh’s budget over the past 10 years mean that protecting services such as education and social care leads to the road maintenance budget being cut disproportionately.

Yes, Edinburgh must spend its transport funding as efficiently as possible by adopting new methods, materials and technologies. However, let’s not pretend Edinburgh can keep on doing more with less.

3 thoughts on “Potholes – Let’s not pretend Edinburgh can keep on doing more with less.

  1. Hi Scott There is a recurrent pothole outside my house, just upstream of a drainage grating. I watched the team fill the pothole just before the snow. It had been raining, and there was still water in the hole. No attempt was made to drain or dry it out before shovelling in pre-tarred filler. One pass of the battering-down machine, then a car drove over the newly-filled hole and left significant tyre prints – a more effective batterer-downer than the machine. No attempt was made to top-up the hollows left by the tyre tracks, or to batter in the filler more firmly. Pour a dribble of tar round the edges from a small ‘watering can’, then load up truck and go. Then the snow and freezing and melt-water running over the patch into the drain. That hole will recur again soon – what a waste of time and (council-taxpayers) money. If they are going to patch and mend, then surely their technique has to improve significantly… Cheers Liz


  2. Westminster austerity means the Scottish Goverment have a smaller pot to hand out. So yes, the SG have been pressuring councils to spend less, but you have to ask why? Surely?


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