Half a million complaints show scale of UK’s pothole pandemic
More than half a million potholes were reported to local authorities last year — a 44% rise in just two years – new figures obtained by the RAC reveal
Across 161 councils in England, Scotland and Wales, 512,270 potholes were reported by members of the public in 2017, up from 356,432 from 152 local authorities in 2015.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes called the figures “shocking” and warned the true scale of the UK’s pothole problem is even greater than the numbers show.
Taking into account 51 further councils that couldn’t provide figures, it’s estimated the number of potholes actually reported could have topped 675,000.
Figures show English authorities (outside London) saw the greatest rise between 2015 and 2017 – a staggering 55% jump from 269,486 to 417,881 cases.
Wales saw 11,638 reports last year (up from 9,519 — a rise of 22%), while in Scotland there was a 2% jump in the number of potholes reported, up from 55,961 to 56,859.
In the capital, 25,892 potholes were reported in 2017, a jump of 21% from the 21,466 complained about in 2015.
Mr Lyes says potholes are a constant source of frustration and expense, with the RAC’s 2018 Report on Motoring suggesting road condition is a chief concern for drivers.
He said: “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.”
In the RAC’s most recent study of breakdown data, 1.5% of all call-outs were due to problems caused by potholes, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheel breakdowns.
Mr Lyes urges all road users to help tackle the problem by reporting potholes to their local authorities.
For more information, check out our guide on how to report potholes and claim for damage.
The RAC obtained the data on pothole complaints through a series of Freedom of Information requests made to 212 local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales.
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