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Revealed: Yorkshire’s Pothole Problem Laid Bare As 90,000 Complaints Reported Across The Region

New FOI data shows over  90,000 potholes were reported in the last year across Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Yorkshire had the second largest number of reported potholes in the country
  • Figures show nationally local authorities receive a complaint to fix a pothole every 46 seconds

New Freedom of Information figures gathered by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) show that Yorkshire is near the top of the league when it comes to pothole complaints. The 92,010 complaints in Yorkshire was only second only to the North East, where local authorities received 103,585 complaints.

Local authorities receive a complaint to fix a pothole every 46 seconds, according to the statistics reveal and combined, the depth of the country’s 700,000 reported potholes over the last year, is around 28km – almost 15 times deeper than the Grand Canyon. 

In total, almost £1billion has been spent fixing damaged roads and holes in 2018/19, a figure similar to the previous year.

More than £1.9million has been paid out in compensation to claimants that had their vehicles damaged last year. The figures revealed that just 24% of claims for vehicle damage were successful across England, with the average pay out per claim equating to £257.

Potholes are a major blight on the nation’s roads. Small businesses rely heavily on the road network, with nine in 10 (89%) small firms considering the road network to be important, for their staff, customers and trade deliveries.

FSB is calling for a number of measures to help improve road infrastructure across the country, including:

  • More funding for local authorities from central government to support planned regular maintenance programmes, and to help alleviate the pothole problem. Unless additional funding is provided, the road maintenance problem is likely to increase over time, meaning more will need to be spent on repairs and damage claims.
  • Better coordination is needed between utilities companies and local authorities when roads need to be dug up. The amount of time that utility companies are responsible for the road they have dug up should be extended from the current two to five years. 
  • FSB also wants to see Government ensuring there is a simple system for both reporting potholes locally, as well as for submitting claims for damage to vehicles.
  •         Local authorities should use innovative technology to monitor road condition to enable them to identify deteriorating roads, learning from trailblazer councils.


Richard Askew, FSB’s Regional Policy Representative, said: “Potholes are a major concern for small businesses. Our members rely heavily on the local road network, with their staff, customers and trade deliveries, dependent on fast and efficient road networks. 


“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business, but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.


“These figures show that yet again the North is suffering from a historic lack of funding in our infrastructure. We need more funding for local authorities and improved coordination between authorities and utility companies to ease the burden of this ever-growing issue.”

Potholes in numbers (2018/19):

Total spend on road repair£949,866,134 

Total number of complains about damaged road surfaces/potholes – 699,535

Total number of claims, successful or otherwise, for vehicle damage as a result of potholes or damaged roads – 31,620

Number of successful claims – 7,706

Total amount paid out – £1,978,676


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