‘Shocking’ rise in pothole reports revealed

Traffic cone in a potholeA freedom of information request by the RAC has discovered more than half a million potholes were reported to authorities for repair in 2017.

This represents a staggering increase of 44 percent in pothole reports in just two years.

The situation could be worse still, adds the RAC. Not all authorities provided data: extrapolate the numbers to include them, and the number of pothole reports in 2017 reaches almost 675,000.

“It is shocking to see the number of reported potholes in Britain has risen by nearly 50 percent in two years,” said RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes. 

“Our own analysis of breakdown data shows the damage suffered by motorists is a constant source of frustration and expense, but the scale of the problem is obviously far greater than the numbers show.”

Lyes added motorists are now more inclined to report potholes than in previous years, “but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening.”

English authorities saw the biggest increase in pothole reports, with a 55 percent rise. Wales increased 22 percent and Scotland rose just 2 percent between 2015 and 2017 (but 52 percent from 2014). 

Surprisingly, although pothole reports in London rose 21 percent between 2015 and 2017, they actually FELL 13 percent between 2014 and 2017.

Potholes: did you know?

Road workers fixing a pothole

Cuts to local authority budgets means regular inspections of roads is occurring less frequently than in previous years.

However, said the RAC’s Lyes, “when users report potholes, the onus is on the authority concerned to fix them or risk suffering subsequent compensation claims as a result of not doing so.

“For that reason, we urge everyone to report potholes, so that motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and other road users don’t suffer the consequences.”

Local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have easy-to-use pothole reporting tools. Simply click on the links below, enter a postcode and follow the instructions.

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