The poor condition of Britain’s local roads has led to the RAC dealing with the highest number of pothole-related breakdowns it has seen in any third quarter since it began recording this data in 2006, according to the latest data for potholes.

The UK is thought to have more than one million potholes, with these road defects being one of the leading causes of car breakdowns. 

Residential and rural roads are particularly blighted by potholes which threaten not only tyres and vehicle damage but also the health and safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Personally, I had to replace a tyre after hitting a pothole and I suspect I am not alone.

Also I used to have a bike which I rarely used because of concerns about hitting a hole or having to weave around cracks in the road. I have found walking across the road and on pavements a challenge on occasions.

The major cause of potholes may be UK’s weather – which is going to be more uncertain as climate change hits UK and cyclical weather changes – heavy rain, freezing cold and hot weather. Our recent record flooding and hot summers show that changes in our weather will cause more deterioration of our roads and increase in potholes.

Vehicle insurers have just reported that claims for damage to vehicles has gone up by a record 40 per cent. 

UK has fallen almost to the bottom of the league in money spent on repairing local roads – way behind other major nations including France.

Rishi Sunak may promise £8.4 billion towards pothole repairs but this is over the next 11 years. Councils who are responsible for maintaining our roads (including Surrey and Hampshire ) estimate the cost of fixing the problem is almost twice as much at £14 billion.

All councils including those responsible for highways such as Surrey and Hampshire have been given insufficient money from central government to repair our roads. There is not enough tarmac to fill the holes. Whether county councils have used public money efficiently to fill the holes is for road users to judge.

Meanwhile, if you see any potholes or cracks in the roads and pavements which threaten you and your means of transport and safety, I suggest you log on our details on:

Doubtless, photos would help them find the hole in the road!

Tony Rooth,


Former Surrey county councillor (2005-11) and Guildford borough councillor (2003-23)