READER LETTER: Potholes - Volunteers fixing roads

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A number of councils are recruiting volunteers in an attempt to fix potholes in their area.

Almost 200 small potholes have been repaired – this is by residents after two days training and with the necessary equipment and so far the number of potholes repaired is in six council areas.

Now Devon has taken up the challenge and is recruiting the public to fill in potholes it cannot afford to do itself. Volunteers will also be given two days training with equipment and materials.

A councillor for the area has said the scheme has been set up in response to a shortfall in the highways budget of

£21 million and will be extended all over Devon.

It is called the road warden scheme and it is a request from councils to the government saying, as we are unable to do much of the minor work because of budget reductions, we are asking the new scheme, which is a number of volunteers offering their services to the council.

This is a pilot scheme which began in April and the councils are saying almost 200 small potholes have been repaired through this system.The Department for Transport has welcomed the scheme, the first of its kind in the country.

Devon County Council is saying it has the largest road network of any highway authority in the country, and it costs £60m a year to maintain.

There has been some mixed views on the issue:

One lady said: “Roads maintained by amateur volunteers.

Yet another reason not to go to this county that specialises in thinking up abusive terms for visitors.”

On the other hand, another resident said: “If this is what it takes to make some improvements to our road network, then I am all for it. When will the scheme go national?”

A third person said: “Will this practice be extended by other local authorities?’ Some have very poor track records of repairs or blame their sub-contractors.”

Another said: “About time too! What about asking the farmers to maintain the verges and hedges as well?”

And finally a man said: “The first person to have put on his hi-vis jacket on a weekend should have been the £150,000 chief executive, not some unpaid volunteer.”

The final thoughts would be what would happen if someone is injured and is not fully trained – would the council be insured?

With volunteers, all sorts of problems immediately come to mind including being taken ill on the job.

Repairing potholes is a skilful act, repairing them haphazardly can be worse than not doing them at all, and could cause an accident. Over to your readers for their thoughts.

Councillor John Wilmott

Nottinghamshire County Council Hucknall First Community Forum member for Hucknall