England’s worst roads revealed: How to claim pothole compensation

8 March 2018

Motorists should be wary of worsened road conditions in the aftermath of the ‘Beast from the East’ as the country’s worst roads can now be revealed.

According to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests on local councils from motoring company Car Parts 4 Less, the worst road in England has been found in the North West. Oldham Road in Manchester has the ignominy of being the worst road in the country with 741 complaints made about it to Manchester City Council in 2016/17.

Information from Manchester City Council on expenditure reveals that the central government provided more than £19 million for highway maintenance in 2015, to be spent until 2021. But the council spent only £24,791.24 on maintaining Oldham Road in 2016/17. This was however the largest single highways expenditure made in the period by the council.

Of the list of the worst five roads, the North West has seen an improvement in recent times as Oldham Road is now the only North West road in the top five worst. The previous worst list in 2015/16 had three roads from the North West, in Cheshire, Lancashire, and Salford.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most complained about roads in England in 2016/17:

Road CouncilRegion
Oldham Road741Manchester City CouncilNorth West
Oxford Street589City of WestminsterGreater London
A346304Wiltshire CouncilSouth West
Watling Street291Northamptonshire County CouncilEast Midlands
Nottingham Road267Derby City CouncilEast Midlands
Uxbridge Road243London Borough of EalingGreater London
Chester Road214Cheshire EastNorth West
Lordship Lane183London Borough of SouthwarkGreater London
Beggar Bush Lane183North Somerset CouncilSouth West
Glascote Road157Staffordshire County CouncilWest Midlands

Source: Car Parts 4 Less, March 2018

In the tax-year 2016/17, the UK government spent £4.5 billion on road maintenance, according to the Department for Transport (DfT), down from a four-year high of £4.6 billion in 2014/15. The DfT has allocated £70 million towards the Pothole Action Fund in 2017/18.

According to Car Parts 4 Less, potholes collectively cost motorists a staggering £684 million annually in car repairs. On average, motorists make a claim every 17 minutes.

Claim for pothole damage

If your car is damaged you can claim for compensation from your local council.

Here are motoring organisation’s the AA’s tips for claiming pothole compensation:

  • After you have driven over a pothole, stop as soon as it is safe to do so and check for damage.
  • Damage may not be evident straightaway – watch for vibrations, the steering wheel not centring properly or the car pulling to one side.
  • Take a photo of the pothole (including a familiar object, such as a shoe or drinks bottle, to indicate scale) and record the town, road name and exact location of the pothole.
  • Councils and highway authorities can only repair potholes they know about, so it’s important to report the pothole promptly to the body responsible.  Who you report it to will depend on whether it’s a local road managed by a council or a main road managed by Highways England, Traffic Scotland, Traffic Wales or the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. Find out which agency to report to on the government website.
  • Get your car repaired. Get quotes and keep all receipts and invoices.
  • Write to the council responsible for maintaining the road. Send all the paperwork relating to your repair.
  • The council should pay your claim, but it cannot be held responsible for potholes it is not aware of – for example that have not previously been reported or picked up during checks.
  • If your claim is rejected, ask to see the council’s road inspection reports and attempt to reclaim if you feel you have been treated unfairly.
  • If the damage was costly, talk to your insurance company or seek legal advice.

For more information on reporting and claiming for pothole damage to your vehicle, see the government's guidance page


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If you want the BEST road in Britain.,Travel from Crossgates(Powys) to Newtown (Powys).Just superb.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

In March 2013, my 3 / 4 year old Mini was a write off by the insurance company after being struck underneath by a stone. Repair cost to the engine was more than the value of the car!

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