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How bad are the UK’s potholes?

How bad are the UK’s potholes?

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 19th September 2017

A problem that causes every driver issues, especially modified car drivers with lowered cars is potholes. They seem to be a headache for drivers which just won’t go away – especially if the results of a new report by the RAC is anything to go on.

Causing more concern in some cases, the RAC dealt with over 6,500 breakdown jobs between January and March 2017 which were likely attributable to poor road surfaces – according to the organisation’s figures. 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.”

But what does this mean for drivers with modified vehicles or a lowered suspension? Drivers who own sports cars or super cars can find these potholes even more of a struggle. After you’ve invested in your dream car, most drivers will do everything they can to keep it in great condition with regular services, MOTs and valets, but how can they tackle potholes? The lower surface area of the vehicle can easily be damaged more significantly than a normal vehicle.

So, this leads us to ask the question, just how bad are the UK’s roads when it comes to potholes? VW service provider Inchcape Volkswagen, which offers thorough aftersales services, MOTs and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage, explores…

uk potholes worst

Where are the UK’s pothole hotspots?

FillThatHole has compiled a table consisting of the top ten locations that are known for pothole issues. It is based on the number of road hazards which were reported to them:

PositionAuthorityRegionTotal reportsOpen reportsFixed reportsPercentage fixed
1SurreySouth East England7,6576,4731,14915%
2HampshireSouth East England4,1333,24184921%
3EssexSouth East England3,8042,91287823%
4HertfordshireSouth East England3,5573,00453015%
5KentSouth East England3,4783,10536410%
6LancashireNorth West England3,3012,48479224%
7OxfordshireSouth East England3,2452,22598531%
9Cheshire EastNorth West England2,9802,11078727%
10West SussexSouth East England2,8452,03478328%

This is how the top ten places of’s league table looks when ranked on open reports though:

PositionAuthorityRegionOpen reportsTotal reportsFixed reportsPercentage fixed
1SurreySouth East England6,4737,6571,14915%
2HampshireSouth East England3,2414,13384921%
3KentSouth East England3,1053,47936410%
4HertfordshireSouth East England3,0043,55753015%
5EssexSouth East England2,9123,80487823%
6LancashireNorth West England2,4843,30179224%
8BuckinghamshireSouth East England2,3992,75434313%
9OxfordshireSouth East England2,2253,24598531%
10DevonSouth West England2,1142,51938515%

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.

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

PositionAuthorityRegionFixed reportsTotal reportsOpen reportsPercentage fixed
1YorkYorkshire & Humber1,1871,34115189%
2SurreySouth East England1,1497,6576,47315%
3BristolSouth West England1,0941,47519985%
4OxfordshireSouth East England9853,2452,22531%
5Cheshire West & ChesterNorth West England9131,2523097%
6EssexSouth East England8783,8042,91223%
7NorthumberlandNorth East England8691,123599%
8HampshireSouth East England8494,1333,24121%
10LancashireNorth West England7923,3012,48424%

UK potholes

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

RegionNumber of drivers
South East England941k
South West England721k
Yorkshire & Humber720k
North West England687k
West Midlands609k
Eastern England457k
East Midlands365k
North East England343k

Average cost to repair pothole damage (ranked by region)*

RegionAverage cost
Eastern England£163.68
South East England£124.93
Yorkshire & Humber£120.00
South West England£119.01
West Midlands£87.59
North West England£87.01
East Midlands£86.33
North East England£72.66

Structural road condition percentage split in England

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

*RAC data reported on at


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