MORE money must be ploughed into tackling Keighley's pothole menace, it is claimed.

'Lunar landscape' roads are damaging vehicles and putting people's safety at risk, say campaigners.

Calls for action follow the release of figures which show that last year, more than 8,800 potholes were reported to Bradford Council.

The data – obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Federation of Small Businesses – also reveals that across Yorkshire the total number of complaints was 92,010, the second-highest of all regions nationally.

Federation bosses are demanding that central government provides more funding to local authorities for road maintenance.

And it is proposing that utility companies which dig-up roads should be responsible for that section of highway for five years, instead of the current two.

Michael Westerman, chairman of Keighley Public Transport Watch, criticises the state of some roads in the town and says funds are available to act.

"There is money that hasn't been spent on the Hard Ings Road scheme which could – and should – be used in Keighley," said Councillor Westerman, a member of the town council.

"It's ridiculous that funding can be used for example to improve road surfaces for a cycle race, yet side roads which desperately need attention and really require the work are ignored.

"A lot of cars are suffering damage because of potholes, and that affects everyone's insurance premiums. It has a knock-on effect."

Stuart Hastings, director of Keighley private hire firm Metro Go, says the pothole issue is "a big problem".

"It has cost us a lot of money over the years through damage to vehicles," he added.

"Our taxis cover a lot of miles and our advice to drivers is always to be careful."

Keighley MP John Grogan says the "growing prevalence" of potholes is symbolic of a decade of expenditure cuts by the Government.

He added: "As well as giving local authorities more money to do their job, I support the idea that utility firms should be forced to repair road surfaces for up to five years should potholes develop after their roadworks.

"Insisting on innovative surfacing materials such as asphalt with a high bitumen can also make roads less prone to potholing.

"Potholes are a particular hazard for the growing number of cyclists on our local roads, where encountering a pothole at speed can lead to serious injury or even death."

His concern for the safety of cyclists is shared by Cullingworth man Paul Corcoran, managing director of Pennine Cycles.

"Potholes are a serious problem for cyclists – and other road users don’t always appreciate this!" he said.

"You have two options – ride through the pothole, which can damage the bike or bring you off it; or swerve around it, putting yourself in danger from other traffic.

"It is a dangerous and hazardous situation."

Richard Askew, for the Federation of Small Businesses, said potholes were a "major concern" for its members.

He said businesses relied heavily on the road network.

"Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper firms' ability to do business but lead to damaged vehicles – which are often vital assets to small companies working without large capital reserves," added Mr Askew.

"We need more funding for local authorities and improved co-ordination between authorities and utility companies to ease the burden of this ever-growing issue."

Bradford Council said potholes were a "widespread national issue" and it welcomed the call for additional Government funding to tackle the problem.

A spokesman added: "The Bradford district network is relatively large, with over 1,100 miles of road – including a lot of hilly terrain, which tends to suffer more extreme weather.

"The council takes a proactive approach to road maintenance and we have been trialling a 'velocity patcher' which can repair up to 300 potholes a week.

"Our online reporting system is simple and easy to use, and we work with utility companies to co-ordinate road works."