Shining the spotlight on the UK’s current pothole epidemic

Shining the spotlight on the UK’s current pothole epidemic 1You are very likely to encounter at least one pothole if you go for a drive across the UK at the moment, with these road defects an ongoing issue throughout the nation.

Fortunately, the problem isn’t being ignored by the government. 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.

Following the announcement from Mr Hammond,’s Editor in Chief Hannah Maundrell pointed out: “£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 it actually about time that the UK’s problem with potholes is seen as being more of a major issue? 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”.

To try and answer these questions, we’ve teamed up with VW dealership Vindis to get a better idea of just how problematic potholes have become across the UK’s road network…

The UK’s hotspots for potholes revealed
By using the number of road hazards which are reported to them, has been able to create a league table of highway authorities. 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…

Position Authority Region Total reports Open reports Fixed reports Percentage fixed
(= to 2017)
Surrey South East England 8,732

(up 14.04% from 2017)


(up 15.17% from 2017)


(up 7.92% from 2017)


(down 1 percentage point from 2017)


(= to 2017)

Hampshire South East England 4,712

(up 14.01% from 2017)


(up 15.98% from 2017)


(up 6.71% from 2017)


(down 2 percentage points from 2017)


(= to 2017)

Essex South East England 4,130

(up 8.57% from 2017)


(up 10.2% from 2017)


(up 3.19% from 2017)


(down 1 percentage point from 2017)


(= to 2017)

Hertfordshire South East England 4,052

(up 13.92% from 2017)


(up 13.95% from 2017)


(up 13.96% from 2017)


(equal to 2017)


(up 1 place from 2017)

Lancashire North West England 3,972

(up 20.33% from 2017)


(up 23.99% from 2017)


(up 9.47% from 2017)


(down 2 percentage points from 2017)


(down 1 place from 2017)

Kent South East England 3,857

(up 10.9% from 2017)


(up 11.82% from 2017)


(up 3.3% from 2017)


(equal to 2017)


(= to 2017)

Oxfordshire South East England 3,663

(up 12.88% from 2017)


(up 17.66% from 2017)


(up 2.44% from 2017)


(down 3 percentage points from 2017)


(up 1 place from 2017)

Cheshire East North West England 3,452

(up 15.84% from 2017)


(up 21.14% from 2017)


(up 3.3% from 2017)


(down 3 percentage points from 2017)


(down 1 place from 2017)

Glasgow Scotland 3,203

(up 4.71% from 2017)


(up 4.91% from 2017)


(up 3.99% from 2017)


(equal to 2017)


(no data for 2017)

Buckinghamshire South East England 3,135

(up 13.83% from 2017)


(up 14.26% from 2017)


(up 11.37% from 2017)

(down 1 percentage point from 2017)


You will quickly see from analysing the data above that there is one major headache being presented to those trying to solve the problem of potholes across the UK. 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.

Check out the figures recorded for the North West England region of Lancashire to put this issue into context. 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’s league table!

It seems clear then that a significant effort is going to be required if we are to entirely rid the UK of potholes. 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.