Jul 21 2017

The UK’s ongoing headache with potholes


Most drivers are aware of the ongoing problem the UK has with road potholes. It seems to be an issue that we can’t get rid of – especially if the results of a new report by the RAC is anything to go on.

Alarmingly, the RAC had to deal with 6,500 breakdowns between January and March 2017, according to the organisation’s figures. These breakdowns were likely attributable to poor road surfaces. 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.

David Bizley, a chief engineer at the RAC, commented: “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.”

As we question just how bad is the UK’s pothole problem, VW service provider Inchcape Volkswagen, who offer thorough after sales services, MOTs and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage, explores…

Pothole hotspots compiled a league table of which locations have the most number of open reports regarding potholes.

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

According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey 2017, the average number of potholes filled in 2016/17 per local authority across England was 13,468. has compiled another league table on the top ten authorities ranked on fixed reports. Northumbria in the North East of England ranked at number 7.


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 damage in the past 12 months

There was a total of 343,000 drivers reporting pothole damage in the past 12 months just in the North East of England. However, that is just a fraction of the 941,000 drivers in the South East of England who reported damage.

Average cost to repair pothole damage

In the North East of England, the average cost to repair pothole damage is around £72.66. Again, this is just a fraction of what the average cost to repair pothole damage is in Eastern England and South East of England (£124.93-£163.68).

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


*RAC data reported on at


Fun Mini Golf hire for your event - More Details