Just how bad is the pothole crisis here in England? We found out!

Just how bad is the pothole crisis here in England? We found out!


We’re regularly looking into trends and data surrounding learning to drive and driving conditions here in the UK, which led us to send a Freedom of Information request to England’s councils to find out just how bad England’s pothole crisis is and, specifically, where in the UK suffers from them the most.

What did Bill Plant Driving School want to know about potholes?

When we sent out our FOI request, we wanted to find out four things – you can see the questions we asked below:

  1. How many potholes were fixed in your area in 2020?
  2. How many complaints did you receive relating to potholes in your area in 2020?
  3. How many claims for compensation did you receive relating to potholes in your area in 2020?
  4. How much compensation was given to those whose vehicles were damaged by potholes in your area in 2020?

And why are we only just telling you about this now? The standard response time for an FOI in the UK is 20 days – but thanks to COVID, there have been long delays. We’ve now had responses off the back of most of our FOI requests, and although we still haven’t received responses from everyone, the results are just too good to sit on for any longer!

Nottinghamshire fixed the highest number of potholes

From all the data we received, we were able to determine that more than 816,000 potholes were fixed in England alone last year, and roughly 1 in 8 of those, believe it or not, were located in Nottinghamshire.

Here you can see which counties fixed the most potholes last year:

However, Surrey received the most pothole complaints

We also found that there were more than 240,000 complaints made directly to county councils throughout 2020 in relation to potholes.

While Nottinghamshire may have fixed the most, they were either ahead of the game in terms of fixing them before they became an issue, or residents there may simply be more relaxed about them, as it was actually found to be Surrey that received the most complaints – 64,100 to be exact.

The below image shows the top 10 counties that complained the most about potholes:

Unfortunately for residents of Lincolnshire, the potholes they faced last year were just too much, and there were 1,491 claims for compensation, resulting in the county council paying out £218,617.63 in compensation (although it’s worth noting that it’s not likely every claim was a successful one).

Alarmingly, Staffordshire had the second-highest number of claims for compensation but paid out slightly less compared to what was paid out in Oxfordshire.

You can see the top 10 county council pay-outs (and the total number of claims) here:

What do we think about England’s pothole crisis?

Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support here at www.billplant.co.uk, commented on the shocking findings:

“Potholes are such a danger on our roads in the UK – they can damage suspensions, axles and wheels, with accidents typically occurring by drivers trying to avoid them.

Due to the significant road safety issues they can present, local authorities should better plan resources to address potholes – especially when you look at the level of compensation being paid out in just one year!

Whilst we encourage pupils learning to drive to have driving lessons in varying conditions, we all should expect the road surfaces to be safe and fit for purpose.”