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Thu, 04/11/2019 - 13:00 -- sdukbewiser

The true depth of the UK’s pothole problem revealed

Thu, 11/04/2019
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The true depth of the UK’s pothole problem revealed

New Freedom of Information data obtained by reveals a whopping 905,172 potholes were flagged to councils across the UK in 2017/18, compared to 887,351 the previous year(1). This works out as almost 2,500 potholes reported per day that year to local authorities, on average. To visualise just how far this problem goes, has created a scrolling animation, which dives through the UK’s potholes to reveal a total depth of 33km(2).

The animation allows users to scroll past iconic recorded depths – such as the English Channel (174m), the Mariana Trench (11km) and the world’s deepest man-made hole (12.3km). Users must scroll all the way into the Earth’s upper mantle (30km) before arriving at the UK’s combined pothole depth, which is three times the depth of the Mariana Trench.

  • More than 905,000 potholes were reported to local authorities across the UK in 2017/18(1) – equivalent to almost 2,500 PER DAY, on average.
  •’s scrolling animation lets users visualise the depth of the UK’s pothole problem – which is 33 KM DEEP(2) and THREE TIMES the depth of the Mariana Trench.
  • Councils paid £2.8 million in compensation in 2017/18, as more than a third (34%) of UK drivers say they have had their car damaged by a pothole.
  • ‘How to claim for pothole damage’ guide launched to advise more than a fifth (22%) of motorists who are confused about their rights to claim.
  • The animation reveals the South East has the deepest pothole problem, stretching almost 5km(1,2).

 As the UK recovers from a burst of icy weather and snow, no doubt more and more potholes will start to pop up on roads, giving motorists quite the bumpy ride. A new scrolling animation drills down to the truth depth of the UK’s pothole problem, as  905,000 were reported to local councils in one year alone(1).

The scale of the UK’s pothole problem has not gone unnoticed by motorists, as further research conducted by found more than a third (34%) of UK drivers have suffered damage to their vehicle as a result of poor road conditions. And it seems February is the most prolific month for this, as more than one in seven (15%) incidents occurred during this time of year.

Most of the damage reported was to the vehicle’s tyres (53%), while more than a quarter (26%) said hitting the pothole caused damaged to their suspension, which can be quite costly to fix. This could explain why local authorities have had to fork out more than £2.8 million to compensate victims of pothole damage in one year (2017/18).

But not all motorists are turning to their local council to help pay for the repairs, as only one in five (23%) tried to claim compensation for the damage they received from hitting a pothole. Instead, many motorists are most likely forking out to pay for the damage themselves, or not repairing it at all. Perhaps this is because more than a fifth (22%) of drivers are confused about their rights to claim for pothole damage.

To clear up this confusion, has created a guide for motorists to take them through the process and when they are able to make a legitimate claim. If the council feels it has failed in its duty to maintain the road, they may be willing to cover the cost of repairing the damage (3), which in turn may save motorists potentially hundreds of pounds at a time when motoring is already very expensive.

However, this is not the only expense which has costed councils. In fact, they spent almost £193 million in the same year repairing more than one million potholes or road surfaces, which equates to £169 per pothole, on average. But for some motorists this figure is not enough. In fact, more than a third (37%) of UK motorists are confused why councils are not spending more to repair roads, given the amount of money they receive in fines. Although, in the last Autumn Budget(4), an additional £420m was given to councils in England to tackle potholes, but only two thirds (66%) of motorists think this is a good use of public money.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “Our scrolling animation shows just how deep the UK’s pothole problem goes – a problem that has caused councils to pay out almost £3 million in compensation for pothole damage to vehicles in the last year alone.

“Re-claiming the costs for pothole damage can be confusing for drivers. Many don’t know if it’s best to claim from your insurer, or from the council. To help clear this confusion, drivers looking to claim for pothole damage can find all of the information they need to start the process in our guide.

“The number of potholes reported in the UK has increased by 2% in the last year, and it’s a battle councils continue to fight. If motorists come across a pothole they should report it to their local authority before it gets any worse.”

Let’s hope the state of the roads and repairs do improve following the Government’s announcement last month stating they are to allocate £201M for road surface repairs, there will be an extra £50M to Councils for Potholes and flood resilience plus £151M to reward best practice.

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