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Holey roads not our fault, says WC

November 5, 2018 2:43 PM

Wiltshire Council has published its annual review of the Highways Service. (In Environment Committee agenda item 6). The good news is that road casualties decreased in 2017/18 financial year. The other good news is that although the number of potholes shot up, this was of course caused by an increase in the amount of weather, and not by WC neglect.

It always seems strange that WC has a target for the number of people it wants to be killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads, but there is one, and a reduction in the numbers compared with the previous year is seen as representing good news.

The KSI target for 2017/18 was 172. The actual figure was 174, which is described as "a significant improvement compared to the previous year (192). Performance is therefore assessed as Good."

Areas identified as requiring improvement include planned routine maintenance, footway conditions, treatment of noxious weeds, drainage schemes and the age of traffic signals.

The declining state of the highway network is reflected in public surveys. Satisfaction with most aspects of the highway service in Wiltshire is below the national average, whilst public satisfaction specifically with road conditions has decreased considerably.

The number of slight injuries also went down, from 1069 to 887. Target for next year is 1105, so casualty rates could increase considerably and that would still be claimed as 'Good News'.

Pothole numbers went up from 6822 to 10484. This is accepted as a poor result, though next year's target is simply a reduction, so 10483 would be claimed as 'Good'.

Students of statistics and the twisting thereof should visit the report, where they will find plenty to amuse them.