Cambridgeshire revealed as UK’s worst county for potholes

Published 26 November 2021

Cambridgeshire had the highest number of potholes of any county in the UK last year, with 64,625 reported, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. 

That figure is nearly 20,000 more than Derbyshire, which had the second highest at 45,217. 

Both local authorities were also the worst for potholes in 2019 - Cambridgeshire had 63,561 and Derbyshire had 47,969. 

 Councils with the most potholes in 2020

  Authority Number of potholes
1 Cambridgeshire County Council 64,625 
2 Derbyshire County Council 45,217
3 Herefordshire Council 29,180
4 London Borough of Sutton 28,318
5 Cornwall Council 22,805
6 Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council  21,815
7 Oxfordshire County Council  20,201
8 Buckinghamshire Council  19,122
9 Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council  18,015
10 Durham County Council  16,559 

Source: FOI by MoneySuperMarket

Potholes are not only a potential safety hazard, they can cause serious damage to vehicles and bring drivers the headache of trying to claim compensation, which may not be successful. 

Industry experts believe the Government's £5 billion road maintenance fund, announced in the Autumn Budget, is not enough to tackle the problem, with the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) suggesting “at least” an additional £1.5 billion per year from central Government sources on 2021 levels is needed.

The FOI, carried out by MoneySuperMarket, found that Wiltshire Council has spent the most on potholes (more than £68 million since January 2017) compared to more than £10m by Cambridgeshire County Council and more than £8m by Derbyshire County Council over the same period. 

The Department for Transport puts the average cost of repairing a pothole at £50.

However, research from Honest John’s sister brand heycar found that the cost of fixing a pothole can vary significantly between councils, from just £27, up to a whopping £232. 

Pothole Repair

The FOI by MoneySuperMarket also identified the local authorities with the fewest number of potholes last year. 

Bolsover District Council had just 29 potholes in 2020 and 18 in 2019, while the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea had the second fewest with 35 in 2020 and 40 in 2019.

The figures do not take into account the geographical size of the local authorities but still give an indication of the scale of the problem across the UK.

Councils with the fewest potholes in 2020

  Authority Number of potholes
1 Bolsover District Council 29
2 Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea 35
3 London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham 75
4 Portsmouth City Council 198
5 Luton Borough Council  284
6 City of London Borough 321
7 London Borough of Lambeth 343
8 Bracknell Forest Council  366
9 Halton Borough Council  420
10 London Borough of Haringey 426

Source: FOI by MoneySuperMarket

Sara Newell, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Potholes can be a real menace. Not only are they dangerous but they can also cause serious damage to your car, with wheels, suspension and even body work all at risk from some of the worst. 

“The cost of these repairs can be high, so make sure you have comprehensive car insurance and check the small print to see exactly what’s covered in the event of a claim, particularly if you live in an area where potholes are common and road surfaces are in a state of disrepair. 

“If you’ve experienced pothole damage but don’t want to claim on your policy, you can also consider making a claim to the relevant authority responsible for maintaining the road where the damage occurred.

"For example, local authorities tend to be responsible for local roads and B roads, while Highways England is responsible for A roads and motorways.

"However, note that a claim is far more likely to be successful if the pothole has already been reported, and you’ll need to provide evidence of the damage and the incident, including photos, witnesses, and receipts for any repairs."


hissingsid    on 27 November 2021

Cars with stiff suspension, stupidly large alloy wheels and skinny low profile tyres are the most likely to suffer damage when they hit a pothole.

Kyung Tae Kang    on 28 November 2021

Check the video above!!!

Engineer Andy    on 29 November 2021

To be fair to Cambs, this 'survey' is not reflective of the actual number of pothole but how many reports are filed by the public - which may include more than one person reporting the same pothole or other road fault if the reporting system isn't sophisticated enough (which some aren't).

Peter McGuire    on 2 December 2021

So, how do these Counties compare with Blackburn, Lancashire which had 4000 in 1967?

AQ    on 3 December 2021

The most useful thing to do is report potholes. Compensation claims for damage are only upheld on grounds of negligence by local authorities or Highways Agencies if trunk roads, and negligence is only accepted if potholes have been reported. If they are not reported, there is no case for negligence, so no liability for damage caused. Local authorities rely on this principle to minimise their spending on fixing potholes. Meaning that compensation for damage is cheaper than fixing the problem.

Tony Mahon    on 3 December 2021

Ah yes Peter but at least the holes were rather small.

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