The UK is in the midst of a pothole crisis. Estimations reveal that almost a fifth (18%) of the UK’s road network has less than five years of life remaining, deemed as ‘structurally poor’. The same report stated that a road that is resurfaced today in 2023 will likely not be resurfaced again for another 70 years, in 2093, highlighting how big this problem could become.

In the last 10 years, £1.4 billion has been spent on repairing our roads. As cars are getting heavier - increasing by 9% in Europe alone - this cost is only likely to increase.

But where in the UK are seeing the most potholes and potential damage to roads? We asked UK councils for their budget and actual spending for road works, the number of potholes repaired and reported and the cost of each pothole repair to discover which area is facing the biggest bill.

The Average Pothole Repair Costs £86

Of the 105 councils contacted, we received figures from 68, revealing that the average pothole costs around £86 to repair. Given that a pothole is repaired every 19 seconds, you can see how this cost significantly increases over the year.

Councils, typically, repair a pothole when it is 40mm deep, although some may look between 20mm and 30mm, with some not even repairing until 50mm. It is the responsibility of the council to repair potholes if they have been reported.

However, the cost can greatly differ across the councils.

North Ayrshire Council Has the Highest Pothole Repair Cost at £409 per Pothole

Staggeringly, the cost to repair a pothole in the local authority of North Ayrshire is £409. This is 376% more than the average cost per pothole based on the responses from all councils.

There have been questions about potholes in the local area, with 81 property claims for damage relating to potholes and pavement defects since 1st April 2022.

North Lanarkshire is another area that appears costly to repair potholes, with the average cost to repair at £175. Interestingly, North Lanarkshire is using a machine nicknamed the ‘pothole killer’, emphasising how much of an issue potholes are becoming in the area.

This cost is at significant odds with Cardiff council, who spend just £5 repairing potholes in the area. However, the council did repair fewer potholes than reported. They received 13,229 reports of potholes and repaired 12,750.

But Lancashire County Council Had 72,548 Pothole Complaints in the Last Year

Lancashire County Council takes the top spot for the highest number of potholes reported, with 72,548 in the past year. Of that number, they repaired 61,086. Roads in the area will benefit from a £5.1 million increase over the next year which might see the number of reports reduced.

Derbyshire County Council also received over 70,000 reports of potholes. However, they fixed 85,726 - 13,349 more than the number of reports. But it is important to highlight that one pothole could receive multiple reports.

Hampshire Council Repaired the fewest amount of potholes

Of the councils that provided the number of potholes repaired and reported, Hampshire Council repaired the least. They repaired just 8,204 (32%) of the 25,534 potholes reported. It is important to note that potholes can be reported. When assessed, however, they may not require action, so we do have to take that into account when looking at the reports.

Sunderland City Council are the Most Proactive at Repairing Potholes

Sunderland City Council, however, are the most proactive at repairing potholes. They received only 590 reports from 2022-2023 but repaired 7,999 potholes - a difference of 7,209 or 1,322%.

Coming a close second is East Riding Council, repairing 31,802 potholes with just 2,593 reports.

UK Councils are Repairing More Potholes than Reported

Interestingly, we found that UK councils are repairing more potholes than there are reported potholes. Of an average of 13,334 reports from the data we collected, 16,344 were repaired. That’s a repair rate of 123%, showing how councils are being proactive with repairing as opposed to relying solely on reports. However, it has often been reported that issues with potholes are getting worse which could see this change in the future.

44 councils responded with their budget and actual spending for roadworks and road maintenance. Cornwall spent the most over their budget for roadworks and road maintenance, spending £5,033,002 more than predicted. Edinburgh came second, spending £4,640,000 more than planned. However, some of the places that spent more did utilise budgets from previous years which were reprofiled.

Interestingly, Hampshire County Council had over 10 million budget left over. However, that budget can roll over into the next year and some funding was allocated for future schemes.

Potholes Could Cost You Points on Your Licence and £100

Potholes can cause significant damage to your car. Pothole punctures are one of the most common types of damage. While inconvenient and costly, driving with a flat tyre can result in more than the cost of a repair job. You could face up to a £100 fine and three points on your licence. Unless you can repair the tyre there and then if stopped, you likely won’t be able to drive any further.

This is what you should do if you hit a pothole

If you do hit a pothole, you should:

Pull Over and Check for Any Signs of Damage

Hitting a pothole at high speeds can spell bad news for your car. If you have hit one, you should pull over where it is safe to do so and inspect your wheels and tyres for any signs of damage. If you see any damage, you should get your car booked for a check as soon as possible.

If you can’t see any visible signs, watch out for any vibrations or issues with the steering which could signify more damage than previously thought. If you do notice the driving doesn’t feel right, you should get your car booked for a check as soon as you can.

Report the Pothole

You should always report a pothole, particularly as they can be extremely dangerous when driving at high speeds. If you do want to make a claim, you should also make sure that you contact your local council and report the pothole immediately.

You should also take notes of where you hit the pothole (the exact location) and any witnesses to help your claim.

Get Your Car Repaired

You need to get your car repaired as soon as possible. However, it’s best to shop around for the best prices. Once you have got your car repaired, keep all receipts and invoices for your claim.

Make Your Claim to the Council

You should contact the local authority who is responsible for maintaining the road your car was damaged on, and include all details such as type of damage, costs, invoices and any witnesses who can corroborate your claim.

Councils cannot be held responsible if they were unaware of the pothole, however, they do have to fix potholes that reach a certain depth when reported to them. 

If you do have a car lease and wonder what is included in a maintenance car leasing package - which can include replacement tyres for fair wear - speak to us today!


The above data was based on responses from 68 councils (from a total of 105 councils contacted) who were able to provide data.

Councils were contacted for their budget between the dates 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023. Numbers were only included where they could be certified beyond reasonable doubt and works were classified as completed. The council's financial year ran from 1st April to 31st March 2023, so those figures were used for the report.

Note that potholes can be reported, however, when risk assessed, may not require action and this accounts for the difference between reported and repaired.

Enjoyed this article? Read more of our latest blogs below:

Want to know more about car leasing?

For all our latest news and blogs click HERE.

Looking for the next best car leasing deal? Check out our Top Leasing Deals.

Or do you need to know more about leasing? Check out our Guide Pages.

Leave a Comment

Enter the text you see in the image in the form field above.
If you cannot read the text, refresh the page.
* required fields

Peace of Mind

Check out one of our helpful guides or our explaination of leasing to get all your questions answered.

View our FAQsGuides

Latest News

Get the latest news and blog posts from us.

View all News

Your Guide To Car Leasing

You can unsubscribe at any time

Lease Plan