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11 Feb 2019
Adam Jolley Adam Jolley

UK potholes combined reach a depth of over 30km - almost three times as deep as the Pacific


Councils fork out thousands on repairs as animation shows just how deep the UK’s pothole problem goes.

A large pothole in the road filled with water


In 2017/18 more than 905,000 potholes were reported on UK roads, new research from has revealed. 

Combined, the total number of potholes in the UK would reach a depth of 33 km – three times deeper than the Pacific’s Mariana Trench. 

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Councils fork out millions on repairs issued a Freedom of Information request to local authorities across the UK.

It revealed that, in total, local authorities had to fork out nearly £3 million to compensate victims of pothole damage between 2017 and 2018. 

Of all the authorities, Surrey had the biggest pay out to victims of £446,812 in total.

On a regional scale, the South East of England has seen the highest repair figure - more than £12 million was paid by local authorities to fix the 143,000 potholes in the region. 

Biggest compensation pay-outs

Local authority Total compensation payout (17/18) Number of potholes (17/18)
Surrey £446,812 41,295
Lincolnshire  £254,657 18,061
Staffordshire £186,428 19,624
Islington £109,968 109
Bury £91,569 4,587

Read more:
 How to claim for pothole damage

The true depth of the problem

To highlight the true scale of the problem, has created a scrolling animation that dives deep into the earth’s crust and beyond.


View the full interactive map  

One in three drivers have had an accident due to pothole damage

It’s no wonder motorists want more to be done about the pothole problem. Almost 28% of drivers have had an accident or near-miss because of a pothole.

Of those, 17% said that they lost control of their vehicle because they hit a pothole. 

A further 15% said a pothole caused their tyre to burst and as a result lose control of the vehicle. 

The situation doesn’t seem to be improving either. More than half of UK motorists have noticed more potholes on their roads over that the last year. 

This could partly be because of the extreme weather conditions the UK faced in March last year. 

Councils spend £169 per pothole 

Even so, the impact of potholes has caused a great deal of damage to vehicles. 

More than a third of drivers have suffered damage to their vehicle due to potholes, with tyres  and suspensions being affected the most.

And even though councils spent almost £193 million on repairing potholes between 2017 and 2018 – an average cost of £169 per pothole– 37% feel that this is not enough to tackle the problem.  

Car damaged by a pothole? Our guide tells you how to make a claim.


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