The scale of the UK’s issue with potholes

It is very likely that you’ll encounter a pothole or two while on a road trip anywhere across the UK at the moment.

The government is aware of the issue and is aiming to put plans in place to bring the number of these road defects down considerably. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced during the 2018 Budget that local councils will be allocated £420 million during this financial year so that they can attempt to fix potholes in their constituency — this is on top of an existing fund that is made up of close to £300 million.


Hannah Maundrell, the Editor in Chief at money.co.uk, weighed in on Mr Hammond’s announcement in the Budget by stating: “£420 million to tackle potholes might seem like throwing big money at a relatively minor issue, but it’s a common problem for many drivers who have to fork out cash because their cars are damaged by poor roads.

“This will be welcome news too for insurance companies who foot a large chunk of the bill.”

Is the issue regarding potholes larger than some of us may realise though? Also, just how far will the funds go to solving the problem? After all, the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s chairman Rick Green pointed out in March following a local authority survey that “more than £8 billion would be needed to carry out a one-time catch up to bring local roads in England up to scratch”.

Here, Vindis, where you can book Volkswagen servicing procedures as well as find plans from many other brands so that you can ensure your car always remains in tip-top condition, investigates just how much of a problem potholes are now causing roads across the UK…

The UK’s hotspots for potholes

FillThatHole.org.uk has compiled a league table which ranks highway authorities according to the number of road hazards which have been reported to them. Here’s a look at the top ten places currently in this table, as well as how the stats have changed since the summer of 2017…

PositionAuthorityRegionTotal reportsOpen reportsFixed reportsPercentage fixed
1 (= to 2017)SurreySouth East England8,732 (up 14.04% from 2017)7,455 (up 15.17% from 2017)1,240 (up 7.92% from 2017)14% (down 1 percentage point from 2017)
2 (= to 2017)HampshireSouth East England4,712 (up 14.01% from 2017)3,759 (up 15.98% from 2017)906 (up 6.71% from 2017)19% (down 2 percentage points from 2017)
3 (= to 2017)EssexSouth East England4,130 (up 8.57% from 2017)3,209 (up 10.2% from 2017)906 (up 3.19% from 2017)22% (down 1 percentage point from 2017)
4 (= to 2017)HertfordshireSouth East England4,052 (up 13.92% from 2017)3,423 (up 13.95% from 2017)604 (up 13.96% from 2017)15% (equal to 2017)
5  (up 1 place from 2017)LancashireNorth West England3,972 (up 20.33% from 2017)3,080 (up 23.99% from 2017)867 (up 9.47% from 2017)22% (down 2 percentage points from 2017)
6 (down 1 place from 2017)KentSouth East England3,857 (up 10.9% from 2017)3,472 (up 11.82% from 2017)376 (up 3.3% from 2017)10% (equal to 2017)
7 (= to 2017)OxfordshireSouth East England3,663 (up 12.88% from 2017)2,618 (up 17.66% from 2017)1,009 (up 2.44% from 2017)28% (down 3 percentage points from 2017)
8  (up 1 place from 2017)Cheshire EastNorth West England3,452 (up 15.84% from 2017)2,556 (up 21.14% from 2017)813 (up 3.3% from 2017)24% (down 3 percentage points from 2017)
9  (down 1 place from 2017)GlasgowScotland3,203 (up 4.71% from 2017)2,564 (up 4.91% from 2017)625 (up 3.99% from 2017)20% (equal to 2017)
10  (no data for 2017)BuckinghamshireSouth East England3,135 (up 13.83% from 2017)2,741 (up 14.26% from 2017)382 (up 11.37% from 2017)12% (down 1 percentage point from 2017)

It’s clear from the data above that those attempting to sort out the UK’s problem with potholes are being posed with a major headache. We can see from the figures that all of the ten authorities covered have increased the number of potholes that they have fixed, for instance. However, the number of potholes that have been reported has also increased in each authority. This indicates that there are more new potholes appearing than those tasked with repairing them can keep up with.

The figures related to Lancashire, based in the North West England, underlines this issue. The number of fixed pothole reports in that area was up 9.47 per cent when compared to the summer of 2017’s figures. While this should be good news, it’s countered by the fact that the total reports in the region increased by 20.33 per cent and the number of open reports was up 23.99 per cent over this same period. Despite their efforts then, Lancashire has actually moved further up FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table!

To get rid of all potholes across the UK, a huge effort will no doubt be required. It remains to be seen just how far the £420 million that has been provided from the 2018 Budget will go to solve the crisis on the nation’s road network, but hopefully it’ll be a step in the right direction.



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