Potholes and Pothole Damage


Pothole damage is a problem for vehicle drivers, but potholes are also a concern for cyclists on the roads. Potholes are becoming more common and are causing a lot of injuries for cyclists when commuting and riding. Potholes will just not disappear, especially if the results of a new report by the RAC is anything to go on.

Although there are fewer cyclists on the roads compared with the number of cars, cyclists also suffer from the number of potholes. They are not as protected as a driver in a car and potholes can cause great damage for those who do decide to cycle.  According to a study reported on by the Independent, 50 cyclists are killed or seriously injured due to the dangers in our roads each year and this is becoming a more frequent problem.

VW service provider Inchcape Volkswagen offers an aftersales service, MOTs, and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage. Here, they explore Britain’s relationship with potholes:

The Scale of Britain’s Problem with Potholes

The RAC coped with over 6,500 breakdown jobs between January and March of 2017 which were likely caused due to poor road surfaces in the UK. The last time that so many pothole related breakdowns were recorded in a three-month period was in the first quarter of 2015 (almost 6,900 breakdowns were recorded then). However, in the early months of 2015, the country was subjected to more days of frost and rainfall when compared to the first three months of 2017, when the nation experienced mild and moderately dry conditions.

The RAC’s Chief Engineer, David Bizley, confirmed that  “our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor. We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.

From the tables below, you can judge for yourself how bad potholes in the UK are.

Potholes: Top Hotspots

These are the top ten highway authorities that FillThatHole.org.uk has compiled. It is based on the number of road hazards which were reported to them:

Position Authority Region Total reports Open reports Fixed reports Percentage fixed
1 Surrey South East England 7,657 6,473 1,149 15%
2 Hampshire South East England 4,133 3,241 849 21%
3 Essex South East England 3,804 2,912 878 23%
4 Hertfordshire South East England 3,557 3,004 530 15%
5 Kent South East England 3,478 3,105 364 10%
6 Lancashire North West England 3,301 2,484 792 24%
7 Oxfordshire South East England 3,245 2,225 985 31%
8 Glasgow Scotland 3,059 2,444 601 20%
9 Cheshire East North West England 2,980 2,110 787 27%
10 West Sussex South East England 2,845 2,034 783 28%


This is the top ten places of FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table  when ranked on open reports though:

Position Authority Region Open reports Total reports Fixed reports Percentage fixed
1 Surrey South East England 6,473 7,657 1,149 15%
2 Hampshire South East England 3,241 4,133 849 21%
3 Kent South East England 3,105 3,479 364 10%
4 Hertfordshire South East England 3,004 3,557 530 15%
5 Essex South East England 2,912 3,804 878 23%
6 Lancashire North West England 2,484 3,301 792 24%
7 Glasgow Scotland 2,444 3,059 601 20%
8 Buckinghamshire South East England 2,399 2,754 343 13%
9 Oxfordshire South East England 2,225 3,245 985 31%
10 Devon South West England 2,114 2,519 385 15%


Frequency of Potholes being filled in

An Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey from 2017 said that the average number of potholes filled in 2016/17 per local authority across England was 13,468.

The top ten authorities ranked on fixed reports in FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table is as follows:

Position Authority Region Fixed reports Total reports Open reports Percentage fixed
1 York Yorkshire & Humber 1,187 1,341 151 89%
2 Surrey South East England 1,149 7,657 6,473 15%
3 Bristol South West England 1,094 1,475 199 85%
4 Oxfordshire South East England 985 3,245 2,225 31%
5 Cheshire West & Chester North West England 913 1,252 30 97%
6 Essex South East England 878 3,804 2,912 23%
7 Northumberland North East England 869 1,123 5 99%
8 Hampshire South East England 849 4,133 3,241 21%
9 Islington London 825 985 0 100%
10 Lancashire North West England 792 3,301 2,484 24%


Number of drivers reporting pothole damage in the past 12 months (ranked by region)*

Region Number of drivers
South East England 941k
London 733k
South West England 721k
Yorkshire & Humber 720k
North West England 687k
West Midlands 609k
Scotland 521k
Eastern England 457k
East Midlands 365k
North East England 343k
Wales 201k

 Average Cost to Repair Pothole Damage (ranked by region)*

Region Average cost
Eastern England £163.68
South East England £124.93
London £124.65
Yorkshire & Humber £120.00
South West England £119.01
Scotland £109.02
West Midlands £87.59
North West England £87.01
East Midlands £86.33
North East England £72.66
Wales £61.83


Structural road condition percentage split in England

  • Percentage of roads across England in good condition (i.e. they have 15 years or more residual life remaining) — 53 percent.
  • Percentage of roads across England in adequate condition (i.e. they have between five and 15 years’ residual life remaining) — 30 percent.
  • Percentage of roads across England in poor condition (i.e. they have less than five years’ residual life remaining) — 17 percent.


RAC Report

*RAC data reported on at Telegraph Report

Asphalt UK

Fill That Hole

The Independent (quoting Chris Boardman)



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