Councils pay out £11m to drivers for repairing potholes

pothole repair


Potholes have become a growing hazard for drivers, causing damage to vehicles and posing safety risks. The RAC recently reported a surge in pothole-related breakdowns, with over 8,100 incidents recorded between April and June 2023, the highest in five years. Compounding the issue, councils have paid out a approximately £11 million over the last four years in compensation to drivers for pothole-related damage. In this article, we explore the concerning statistics and discuss the need for urgent solutions.

Pothole Problems: Alarming RAC Findings

Unpredictable weather conditions, including below-average temperatures and heavy rain, have led to ideal conditions for potholes to form. Consequently, the number of pothole-related breakdowns reached a five-year high. Over the past 12 months leading up to June 2023, 27,250 breakdowns occurred due to pothole damage, reflecting a 20% increase compared to the previous year.

Compensation Claims and Council Spending

The RAC’s Freedom of Information request revealed that councils have paid over £11 million in compensation to drivers for pothole damage in the last four years. Although the overall compensation decreased by 33% from 2018/19 to 2021/22, routine maintenance expenses increased by 17%, suggesting efforts to improve road quality. Additionally, planned resurfacing expenses rose by 9% over the same period.

Call for Action and Long-Term Solutions

The ongoing compensation payouts indicate the severity of the pothole problem, and some road defects may be going unreported, allowing councils to evade financial responsibility. The RAC calls for councils to invest in innovative machinery to quickly and permanently repair potholes. Furthermore, they urge the government to allocate specific funds for road maintenance, enabling councils to plan effective repair programs.


The rise in pothole-related breakdowns and substantial compensation payouts underscore the need for immediate action. Addressing potholes is essential for road safety and preventing further vehicle damage. Drivers can contribute by promptly reporting potholes, ensuring that local authorities are aware of hazards and can take necessary measures. Collaborative efforts between communities and councils can lead to safer, more resilient roads for everyone.


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Emma Thomson, a highly experienced Senior Associate, possesses over a decade of specialised expertise in managing public liability claims due to road damage including potholes . Additionally, She is both accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as being a specialist in personal injury claim and she is recognised as a trauma certified solicitor, demonstrating her comprehensive understanding of the potential impact that accidents can have on our clients. Emma’s approach is characterised by a personal and empathetic manner, ensuring that our clients receive the utmost support. To initiate a claim, we encourage you to reach out to Emma and her team via email on [email protected] or by calling 0141 331 6070.