Fix Fife's potholes
Fix Fife's potholes
Fife's roads have never been in a worse condition. A recent AA survey showed Fife topping the pothole league table in Scotland. This is the result of more extreme weather events (flooding and the recent snow) in recent times, but also, more significantly, years of cuts to the roads maintenance budget. As roads are resurfaced and patched less frequently, crumbling surfaces and increasing numbers of potholes become inevitable. At the same time, the policy for filling potholes has changed and the waiting time for so-called non-emergency repairs lengthened.
When I stood for election four years ago, potholes and the state of the roads was the number one issue on doorsteps. I vowed to do something about it. Since I have been elected, I hear complaints about potholes at every community council meeting I attend and I have sent countless emails to Council officers. Personally in the last four years I have had a car written off due to flood damage on a potholed road, broken springs and suspension due to potholes and seven shredded tyres, the last one only a fortnight ago. It is outrageous that Fife Council prides itself on organising its policies in such a way that it managed to avoid meeting 363 out of 367 insurance claims for pothole damage last year.
As an individual councillor who is not part of the administration at Fife Council, I have no power to change roads policy. The convenor of the Transport Committee who is responsible blames the Scottish Government for cutting its annual core revenue grants to the Council by 7% since 2013, and says roads had to take the brunt of the cuts rather than other services such as education. This is a simplistic argument which ignores the fact that roads in other Scottish local authorities are not in such a grim state as Fife's.
Fifers have the right to expect to cycle or drive down roads which aren't riddled with dangerous potholes. Fife Council's deliberate neglect of roads maintenance costs individuals and business many thousands of pounds every year. There is a sign now that Fife Council realises that it needs to do something about its crumbling roads infrastructure. The SNP/Labour administration at Fife Council is proposing to bring forward £2 million this year and next year on road resurfacing. This is not new money, and it comes from the capital budget, so cannot be used for pothole repairs or patching. It is a drop in the ocean. In North East Fife it will amount to around £700k, I am told, and means an extra four or five shortish stretches of road on the waiting list will be resurfaced in the next two years. Many wards in Fife will notice no difference.
I don't believe the powers that be at Fife Council realise how seriously fed up we are with the state of the roads - and how fed up we are with reporting potholes, the majority of which do not get repaired until they become life-threatening emergencies. Facebook now has a very busy page dedicated to warning users about Fife potholes, and St Monans, a small village in my ward, has even produced its own pothole activist.
This petition is designed to collect support from across Fife for dramatically improved roads maintenance and to put irresistible pressure on Fife Council to make urgent reforms to its roads policies.