AN ARMY of pothole spotters has discovered Scotland has more holes per mile of roadway than anywhere else in the UK.
The volunteers, who were recruited by the AA found roadsigns and markings in Scotland were more likely to be in need of repair than those anywhere else in the country.
And Scotland also had a high level of potholes in pavements - which the AA warns is putting both pedestrians and motorists at risk.
According to the survey Scotland has 8.9 potholes per mile on the road and 2.81 potholes per mile on the pavement.
Overall the numbers of potholes in UK roads has fallen slightly - with a national average of 6.25 potholes per mile.
AA president Edmund King said: “Potholes may again become a serious problem this winter with local authority budget cuts biting and no likelihood of extra government cash.
“Our survey has found that, although patching up the roads after last winter’s ravages has brought some improvement, their condition is on a knife-edge and drivers are still likely to have to dodge potholes.”
AA members, who spent 800 hours surveying their local area - were asked to walk for two miles - noting down potholes, damaged road signs, dog fouling and litter and noting uneven road repairs which could pose hazards for cyclists.
In Scotland the surveyors noted an average of 6.2 road signs or road markings in need of repair - the highest in the country.
London had the fewest potholes on the roads - averaging 4.9 per mile, but its pavement/path figure was 2.4 per mile.
The best pavement-path total was in south-west England, where the AA members found only one pothole per mile during their survey.
As well as noting potential problems for drivers the surveyors were also asked to note down uneven pavements, where pedestrians might be at risk of falling and badly executed road repairs, which could be a hazard for cyclists.
Mr King said although the AA members noted some improvement this year, there were “continuing problems”.
He went on: “Their main concern was, once more, potholes which blight some neighbourhoods, pose danger and risk damage for all road users - whether on two feet, two wheels or four wheels.
“We also had individual reports of deep potholes which are a total menace in the dark or in rain when often they are not spotted until it is too late. The deep potholes damage tyres and wheels and are a major safety risk for cyclists and motorcyclists.”
Although the average number of potholes per stretch of road and pavement was slightly lower than last year the AA fears cuts in Government spending could lead to a deterioration in the quality of road surfaces.
Scotland faces particular difficulties because of more severe winters and an increase in traffic on the roads - with local authorities across the country being asked to reduce spending.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Local roads maintenance is a matter for the councils concerned and the Scottish Government is providing these local authorities with £11 billion this year.
“The Roads Maintenance Review, a collaboration between all 33 road authorities in Scotland, sets out how we can work together to maintain our roads more efficiently in the years ahead by making best use of available resources.”
A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said: “COSLA’s Convention endorsed the publication of the National Road Maintenance Review and its commitment to greater sharing of services recognising that in the short to medium term this is the best mechanism for continuing to deliver road maintenance service improvements.”
“COSLA recognises that the Review involved a great range of stakeholders in Scotland’s road maintenance sector in a process of seeking to deliver even greater effectiveness in delivery within the budgets available and identifying the opportunities for further good practice and innovation, to deliver tangible benefits for communities business and individuals alike.”