Surrey named pothole capital of England after paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds

Car and winter pothole on open road
Potholes are a big problem in the UK (Getty)

Surrey has been revealed as the pothole capital of England after it was forced to pay out the most compensation requests in 2018/2019, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The county in south-east England forked out £323,222 to drivers for pothole damage after receiving the highest number of complaints (3,533), the data showed.

Hampshire County Council was second on the list, with 2,665 payouts, while Hertfordshire, Kent and Northamptonshire County Councils also faced more than 2,000 claims throughout 2018-2019.

The information was released by car leasing company to mark National Pothole Day on the 15 January.

It was also revealed potholes cost small firms 'millions of pounds' in damaged vehicles.

old highway with holes and snow. Landscape road in the potholes in cloudy winter weather. The concept of the absence of timely repair of the highway.
The RAC wants the Government to do more to fix potholes (Getty)

The data showed a total of 37,578 relevant claims were made across England during 2018/19, with poorly maintained roads meaning councils compensated motorists £3,520,538.38 in total.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “A solution to the UK’s long-term pothole problem is possible.

“From this year, the money raised from vehicle excise duty in England will be ring-fenced to help fund motorways and major A-roads over successive five-year periods.

“But as yet, there is no similar model for local roads where the vast majority of drivers begin and end their journeys.

“We believe this could easily be changed by ring-fencing 2p a litre from existing fuel duty revenue to generate £4.7bn of additional funding over five years.”

Surrey Count Council paid out the most for potholes (Picture:
Surrey Count Council paid out the most for potholes (
Surrey County Council also received the most complaints (Picture:
Surrey County Council also received the most complaints (

If you want to avoid potholes, living in Greater London boroughs of Islington and Sutton seems like the best bet after their councils did not pay out a single penny for pothole complaints.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sefton Borough Council on Merseyside and St Helens Council were among others to keep compensation for pothole damage to a minimum.

They paid out just £353, £582.60 and £594 respectively, with the local authorities in Harrow, Hounslow, Redbridge and Waltham Forest also receiving bills of less than £1,000.

Only two claims were issued against Richmond upon Thames Borough Council.

Surrey County Council spokesman added: “We have some of the country’s busiest roads and this naturally takes its toll but we’re working incredibly hard to improve Surrey’s roads.

“This is reflected in our increased investment, with an extra £92m announced this week in our capital budget for improving and maintaining our roads and pavements over the next few years.”


Potholes cost small firms 'millions of pounds' in damaged vehicles

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Half of British drivers find potholes the most annoying thing on the road

Potholes are caused by water that seeps into tarmac and then expands as temperatures drop below freezing during the winter, cracking the road surface.

Driving over one can jolt and damage a vehicle’s suspension, affect the condition of wheels and in extreme cases even puncture or burst tyres.

The data was obtained by an FOI request and covers the period 1 January 2018 to 17 October 2019.

A full breakdown of English councils and their claims for compensation is available here.