The UK’s ongoing road issues with potholes

Potholes – an issue all drivers are aware of! It’s also a problem that is contributing to the poor road surfaces across England. According to the RAC, this is a UK-wide problem that saw over 6,500 breakdowns reported to them between the months of January and March 2017. Over that three-month period, the RAC suggest those breakdowns were likely to be a result of the poor road conditions across the UK.

potholes

The last time that so many pothole-related breakdowns were recorded in a three-month period was in the first quarter of 2015 (almost 6,900 breakdowns were recorded then). However, in the early months of 2015, the country was subjected to more days of frost and rainfall when compared to the first three months of 2017, when the nation experienced mild and moderately dry conditions.

David Bizley, a chief engineer at the RAC, commented: “Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor. We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.”

The question remains, what is the state of the UK’s roads? Inchcape Volkswagen, who know a thing or two when it comes to VW service, MOTs and repairs, investigate how bad pothole issues really are across English roads. So, this leads us to ask the question, just how bad are the UK’s roads when it comes to potholes?

Pothole hotspots

Based on the number of road hazard reports, FillThatHole.org.uk has ranked the top ten locations in a league table.

Position Authority Region Total reports Open reports Fixed reports Percentage fixed
1 Surrey South East England 7,657 6,473 1,149 15%
2 Hampshire South East England 4,133 3,241 849 21%
3 Essex South East England 3,804 2,912 878 23%
4 Hertfordshire South East England 3,557 3,004 530 15%
5 Kent South East England 3,478 3,105 364 10%
6 Lancashire North West England 3,301 2,484 792 24%
7 Oxfordshire South East England 3,245 2,225 985 31%
8 Glasgow Scotland 3,059 2,444 601 20%
9 Cheshire East North West England 2,980 2,110 787 27%
10 West Sussex South East England 2,845 2,034 783 28%

 

There is a shift in some rankings when locations are ranked based on how many open reports remain.

Position Authority Region Open reports Total reports Fixed reports Percentage fixed
1 Surrey South East England 6,473 7,657 1,149 15%
2 Hampshire South East England 3,241 4,133 849 21%
3 Kent South East England 3,105 3,479 364 10%
4 Hertfordshire South East England 3,004 3,557 530 15%
5 Essex South East England 2,912 3,804 878 23%
6 Lancashire North West England 2,484 3,301 792 24%
7 Glasgow Scotland 2,444 3,059 601 20%
8 Buckinghamshire South East England 2,399 2,754 343 13%
9 Oxfordshire South East England 2,225 3,245 985 31%
10 Devon South West England 2,114 2,519 385 15%

 

Frequency of potholes being filled in

According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey 2017, the average number of potholes filled in 2016/17 per local authority across England was 13,468.

The top ten authorities ranked on fixed reports in FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table is as follows:

Position Authority Region Fixed reports Total reports Open reports Percentage fixed
1 York Yorkshire & Humber 1,187 1,341 151 89%
2 Surrey South East England 1,149 7,657 6,473 15%
3 Bristol South West England 1,094 1,475 199 85%
4 Oxfordshire South East England 985 3,245 2,225 31%
5 Cheshire West & Chester North West England 913 1,252 30 97%
6 Essex South East England 878 3,804 2,912 23%
7 Northumberland North East England 869 1,123 5 99%
8 Hampshire South East England 849 4,133 3,241 21%
9 Islington London 825 985 0 100%
10 Lancashire North West England 792 3,301 2,484 24%

 

Number of drivers reporting damage in the past 12 months (ranked by region)*

Region Number of drivers
South East England 941k
London 733k
South West England 721k
Yorkshire & Humber 720k
North West England 687k
West Midlands 609k
Scotland 521k
Eastern England 457k
East Midlands 365k
North East England 343k
Wales 201k

 

Average cost to repair pothole damage (ranked by region)*

Region Average cost
Eastern England £163.68
South East England £124.93
London £124.65
Yorkshire & Humber £120.00
South West England £119.01
Scotland £109.02
West Midlands £87.59
North West England £87.01
East Midlands £86.33
North East England £72.66
Wales £61.83

 

Structural road condition percentage split in England

  • Percentage of roads across England in poor condition (i.e. they have less than five years’ residual life remaining) — 17 per cent
  • Percentage of roads across England in adequate condition (i.e. they have between five and 15 years’ residual life remaining) — 30 per cent.
  • Percentage of roads across England in good condition (i.e. they have 15 years or more residual life remaining) — 53 per cent.

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