Over half a million potholes reported last year - up by a third in just two years

Published by Edmund Greaves on 28 December 2018.
Last updated on 28 December 2018

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Motorists have been plagued by more potholes than ever as new figure reveal the number of reports is up by a third.

Motoring organisation the RAC says that more than half a million potholes were reported to local authorities by the public in 2017.

The organisation obtained the data through Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to 212 councils in England, Scotland and Wales.

The FOI’s found 512,270 pothole reports were made to 161 authorities.

In 2015 the organisation obtained data from 152 councils, showing just 356,432 reports.

The RAC says that extrapolating the data to include those authorities that failed to give figures, it is likely there were nearer 674,229 in 2017. This represents a 33% increase on the same extrapolated figure from 2015 of 508,651.

Excluding London, English authorities saw the biggest rise between 2015 and 2017 – a 55% leap from 269,486 to 417,881.

By comparison, Wales experience a 22% rise from 9,519 to 11,638 and Scotland just 2% up (55,961 to 56,859).

London experienced a 21% increase – 21,466 reports in 2015 up to 25,892 in 2017.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes comments: “Perhaps motorists are more inclined to report pothole defects than they were a few years ago, but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening.

“With over half a million potholes reported in 2017 and a more accurate figure for all authorities, including those that didn’t provide data, likely to be in excess of 674,000, this is sadly just the tip of the iceberg as thousands will go unreported every year.

“For that reason, we urge everyone to report potholes so that motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and other road users don’t suffer the consequences of poorly maintained road surfaces, whether that’s damage to their vehicles, motorbikes or bicycles, or worse still a collision.”

For its part the government has committed to spending more on fixing roads. In his Autumn Budget Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced an extra £420 million for local councils to tackle potholes.

How to report a pothole

The RAC has encouraged people to report potholes to local authorities in order to ensure councils and local government identifies and tackles problem roads.

Where you report a pothole depends on where you found it. If the pothole is on an A road or motorway in England, you'll have to contact them at info@highwaysengland.co.uk or 0300 123 5000 (24 hours).

If you found the pothole on a local road, you'll need to contact the council responsible for maintaining the road. To find the contact details of the council you'll need to speak to, use the government tool: https://www.gov.uk/report-pothole.

Enter your postcode in the tool to find the relevant authority's contact information or website.

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