Revealed: How long it takes your council to fix a pothole

Revealed: How long it takes your council to fix a pothole
Revealed: How long it takes your council to fix a pothole

New data has been revealed showing the fastest and slowest-acting councils in Britain when it comes to filling potholes.

Cumbria, Flinstshire and South Lanarkshire aim to act “immediately” to repair those potholes that pose the greatest risk to the state of the road and the safety of drivers and riders. Harrow Council sets a target repair time of half an hour.

A further 16 councils aim to patch things up within an hour, and five within 90 minutes.

The most common response time to the most urgent problems is two hours, with 79 councils looking to patch up the road within this period.

At the other end of the scale Coventry City Council only aims to intervene within five days.

Response times to the most serious defects will be influenced by how many miles of road a council has to manage and the geographical size of the council area.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation shows that local highway authorities across the country are increasingly adopting the ‘risk-based’ approach to fixing road defects.

This means, for example, that not only will the size – width and depth – of a pothole be taken into account but also the type of road it is on, the volume of traffic that road carries and the mix of road users.

Intervention times will also depend on the physical size of the local authority area and also the length and makeup of the road network, with urban authorities tending to have smaller and more geographically confined networks than their rural counterparts.

Based on data received from 190 of the 207 local highway authorities in Britain, 75 per cent (142) had already moved to a risk-based approach by Autumn 2018, by when a further 15 (eight per cent) said they were about to move to the new system or were reviewing their existing practices.

Although adopting a risk-based approach is becoming increasingly common, almost all authorities still set minimum investigation levels – based on depth and width measurements – below which they won’t assess potholes, nor assign response times based on the dangers they pose.

These investigation levels vary considerably. While 37 local highway authorities said they would investigate further when a pothole was between 20-30mm deep, 26 others said the depth had to be at least 50mm or more.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It is good to see that the vast majority of local highway authorities are adopting the best practice ‘risk-based’ approach recommended by the UK Roads Liaison Group, which is putting the risk to road users front and centre alongside the potential for a defect to develop into a bigger structural problem.

“The total number of potholes being filled in might still be limited by a shortage of funding, but this approach at least means those that are most dangerous are fixed first.

“It is understandable that large rural authorities set themselves longer response times, simply as a result of having to travel further to effect repairs, but motorists might still be surprised to see such a wide variation across the country.

“Those particularly vulnerable to potholes – cyclists and motorcyclists – might ask whether the speed of pothole investigation should be based solely on the risk to users.”

The latest guidance from the UK Roads Liaison Group – a collaboration of both national and local government – recommends that primary, secondary and main distributor roads are inspected by LHAs once a month; link roads once a quarter; and local roads once a year.

Inspections aim to identify all road defects, not just potholes but also damaged or missing manhole covers and drain grates, and damage to the edge of the carriageway.

Repair times for most severe potholes

Local Highway Authority/Response/Repair times
1 – Flintshire – Immediate
2 – Cumbria – Immediate
3 – South Lanarkshire – Immediate
4 – Harrow – 30mins
5 – Slough – 1 hour
6 – Walsall – 1 hour
7 – Sheffield – 1 hour
8 – Rochdale – 1 hour
9 – Bracknell Forest – 1 hour
10 – Hartlepool – 1 hour
11 – Warwickshire – 1 hour
12 – Swindon – 1 hour
13 – Worcestershire – 1 hour
14 – Derby – 1 hour
15 – Ealing – 1 hour
16 – Bexley – 1 hour
17 – Birmingham – 1 hour
18 – Wirral – 1 hour
19 – Stoke-on-Trent – 1 hours
20 – North Lanarkshire – 1.5 hours
21 – Cheshire West and Chester – 1.5 hours
22 – Waltham Forest – 1.5 hours
23 – Somerset – 1.5 hours
24 – Cheshire East – 1.5 hours
25 – Isle of Anglesey – 1hr
26 – Neath Port Talbot – 2 hours
27 – Carmarthenshire – 2 hours
28 – Rutland – 2 hours
29 – Solihull – 2 hours
30 – Renfrewshire – 2 hours
31 – Calderdale – 2 hours
32 – Gloucestershire – 2 hours
33 – Stockport – 2 hours
34 – Bristol – 2 hours
35 – Bromley – 2 hours
36 – Denbighshire – 2 hours
37 – Suffolk – 2 hours ,
38 – Buckinghamshire – 2 hours
39 – Bedford – 2 hours ,
40 – Southend-on-Sea – 2 hours
41 – North Yorkshire – 2 hours
42 – South Tyneside – 2 hours
43 – Newham – 2 hours
44 – Stockton-on-Tees – 2 hours
45 – Oldham – 2 hours
46 – Bolton – 2 hours
47 – Hampshire – 2 hours
48 – Knowsley – 2 hours
49 – Kensington and Chelsea – 2 hours
50 – Salford – 2 hours
51 – Sefton – 2 hours
52 – Caerphilly – 2 hours
53 – Oxfordshire – 2 hours
54 – Hammersmith & Fulham – 2 hours
55 – Greenwich – 2 hours
56 – West Berkshire – 2 hours
57 – Wigan – 2 hours
58 – Halton – 2 hours
59 – Manchester – 2 hours
60 – Tower Hamlets – 2 hours
61 – Middlesbrough – 2 hours
62 – St. Helens – 2 hours
63 – Trafford – 2 hours
64 – Southwark – 2 hours
65 – Wokingham – 2 hours
66 – Barking and Dagenham – 2 hours
67 – Luton – 2 hours
68 – Conwy – 2 hours
69 – Hackney – 2 hours
70 – Peterborough – 2 hours
71 – Brent – 2 hours
72 – Poole – 2 hours
73 – TfL – 2 hours
74 – Kingston upon Thames – 2 hours
75 – Rotherham – 2 hours
76 – Sunderland – 2 hours
77 – Tameside – 2 hours
78 – Westminster – 2 hours
79 – Sutton – 2 hours
80 – Wolverhampton – 2 hours
81 – Liverpool – 2 hours
82 – Rhondda – 2 hours
83 – Moray – 2 hours
84 – Dorset – 2 hours
85 – Norfolk – 2 hours
86 – Barnet – 2 hours
87 – Plymouth – 2 hours
88 – Sandwell – 2 hours
89 – Cambridgeshire – 2 hours
90 – Thurrock – 2 hours
91 – East Ayrshire – 2 hours
92 – Surrey – 2 hours
93 – Doncaster – 2 hours
94 – East Sussex – 2 hours
95 – Northamptonshire – 2 hours
96 – West Sussex – 2 hours
97 – Central Bedfordshire – 2 hours
98 – Aberdeen City – 2 hours
99 – Bury – 2 hours
100 – Haringey – 2 hours
101 – East Renfrewshire – 2 hours
102 – Essex – 2 hours
103 – Cardiff – 2 hours
104 – Redbridge – 2 hours ,
105 – Devon – 2 hours ,
106 – Kent – 2 hours
107 – Orkney Islands – 2 hours
108 – Richmond upon Thames – 2 hours
109 – Warrington – 2 hours
110 – Windsor & Maidenhead – 3 hours
111 – City of London – 3 hours
112 – Reading – 3 hours
113 – Islington – 4 hours
114 – North Tyneside – 4 hours
115 – Blackburn with Darwen – 4 hours
116 – Lancashire – 4 hours
117 – Dundee City – 4 hours
118 – Inverclyde – 4 hours
119 – North Ayrshire – 4 hours
120 – Argyll & Bute – 4 hours
121 – East Dunbartonshire – 4 hours ,
122 – Perth and Kinross – 4 hours
123 – Aberdeenshire – 4 hours
124 – Stirling – 12 hours
125 – Leicester – Same day
126 – Lambeth – 2-24 hours
127 – Wrexham – 2-24 hours
128 – Barnsley – 24 hours
129 – Monmouthshire – 24 hours
130 – Gateshead – 24 hours
131 – Northumberland – 24 hours
132 – South Gloucestershire – 24 hours
133 – County Durham – 24 hours
134 – Powys – 24 hours
135 – Swansea – 24 hours
136 – Merthyr Tydfil – 24 hours
137 – Bridgend – 24 hours
138 – Midlothian – 24 hours
139 – North Somerset – 24 hours
140 – Portsmouth – 24 hours
141 – Torfaen – 24 hours
142 – Hounslow – 24 hours
143 – Milton Keynes – 24 hours
144 – Isle of Wight – 24 hours
145 – Brighton and Hove – 24 hours ,
146 – Gwynedd – 24 hours
147 – North East Lincolnshire – 24 hours
148 – Edinburgh – 24 hours
149 – Newport – 24 hours
150 – Angus – 24 hours
151 – East Lothian – 24 hours
152 – Shetland Islands – 24 hours
153 – Falkirk – 24 hours
154 – Blackpool – 24 hours
155 – Fife – 24 hours
156 – Bradford – 24 hours
157 – Kingston upon Hul – 24 hours
158 – Southampton – 24 hours
159 – Wakefield – 24 hours
160 – Dudley – 24 hours
161 – Scottish Borders – 24 hours
162 – Western Isles – 24 hours
163 – Enfield – 24 hours
164 – Havering – 24 hours
165 – Lewisham – 24 hours
166 – Shropshire – 24 hours
167 – Pembrokeshire – 24 hours
168 – Clackmannanshire – 24 hours
169 – Staffordshire – 24 hours
170 – West Lothian – 24 hours
171 – Kirklees – 24 hours
172 – North Lincolnshire – 24 hours
173 – Lincolnshire – 24 hours
174 – Nottingham – 24 hours
175 – Ceredigion – 24 hours
176 – Highland – 24 hours
177 – Wiltshire – 24 hours
178 – Hertfordshire – 24 hours,
179 – Leeds – Next day
180 – Derbyshire – Next day
181 – The Vale of Glamorgan – Next working day
182 – Herefordshire – A and B roads end of next day
183 – York – 34 hours
184 – Bournemouth – 36 hours
185 – Isles of Scilly – 48 hours
186 – Cornwall – 48 hours
187 – Leicestershire – 72 hours
188 – Coventry: disputes our initial interpretation of its response times –
189 – Bath & North East Somerset – No data
190 – Blaenau Gwent – No data
191 – Camden – No data
192 – Croydon – No data
193 – Darlington – No data
194 – Dumfries & Galloway – No data
195 – East Riding of Yorkshire – No data
196 – Glasgow City – No data
197 – Hillingdon – No data
198 – Medway – No data
199 – Merton – No data
200 – Newcastle upon Tyne – No data
201 – Nottinghamshire – No data
202 – Redcar and Cleveland – No data
203 – South Ayrshire – No data
204 – Telford and Wrekin – No data
205 – Torbay – No data
206 – Wandsworth – No data
207 – West Dunbartonshire – No data