Flintshire Council has the fastest response time in Britain for filling in serious potholes, new research has revealed.
Analysis by motoring charity the RAC Foundation shows Flintshire Council aims to act “immediately” to sort out road defects which pose the greatest safety risk to drivers and riders.
Data based on Freedom of Information (FOI) provided by 190 of the 207 local highway authorities in Britain places Flintshire, Cumbria, and South Lanarkshire at the top in terms of response times.
Harrow Council sets a target repair time of half an hour.
A further 16 councils aim to patch things up within an hour, and five within 90 minutes.
The most common response time to the most urgent problems is two hours, with 79 councils looking to patch up the road within this period.
At the other end of the scale it can take some councils three or more days to intervene.
Coventry City Council has the longest target time for severe pothole repairs, aiming to respond within five days.
Many local authorities have adopted a risk-based approach to dealing with road defects including Flintshire.
The RAC Foundation analysis found that: “all authorities still set minimum investigation levels – based on depth and width measurements – below which they won’t assess potholes, nor assign response times based on the dangers they pose.”
The RAC said response times are influenced by how many miles of road a council has to manage and the size of the council area.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “It is understandable that large rural authorities set themselves longer response times, simply as a result of having to travel further to effect repairs, but motorists might still be surprised to see such a wide variation across the country.
“Those particularly vulnerable to potholes – cyclists and motorcyclists – might ask whether the speed of pothole investigation should be based solely on the risk to users.”
In Flintshire all potholes in the county are given a coding of red, amber or green.
Roads with potholes deeper than 40mm, classed as amber, previously had a target time of up to three days to repair, but under the new policy this would be extended to five.
However, where the damage has the potential to cause a serious injury or accident and is coded as red, it will still require an immediate response to make it safe.
Meanwhile, low risk or green defects measuring less than 40mm will continue to be monitored at regular intervals.
Steve Jones said: “Flintshire County Council receive numerous claims from highway users following trips, falls or personnel loss/damage to property on the public highway.
“This reviewed policy will ensure the highway network is in a fit for purpose and safe condition also providing the council with a defence against any claims it may receive.
“This review has also led to the response times being reviewed and amended, in line with the risk-based approach, to reflect of the overall condition of the carriageway network, which are currently the top ranking in Wales.
“It also takes into account the current and anticipated demand against the available resources and priorities for Flintshire County Council.”