The Number of Potholes in Manchester and London

Drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists in two of the UK’s largest cities are at risk of road traffic accidents that could potentially cause serious injuries due to the number of potholes. We recently collected statistics released by, which revealed the total number of reported open potholes across Greater Manchester, while FOI requests to London borough councils revealed the number of potholes in the capital city.

Potholes in Manchester

There are currently more than 7,000 potholes tarnishing roads across Greater Manchester, which represents an almost 5% rise from the previous year.

The three worst-affected boroughs were City of Manchester (2,356), Bury (834) and Oldham (751). However, roads in Stockport, Bolton and Trafford were also found to have more than 600 potholes, with 703, 694 and 681 respectively.

Bolton saw the largest increase in the number of reported potholes by 12%, growing from 620 in 2019 to 694 in 2020.

Pothole Map Manchester 2021.jpg

BoroughCity of ManchesterStockportTamesideOldhamRochdaleBuryBoltonWiganCity of SalfordTraffordTOTAL
2017 vs 201890.23%1.74%7.86%-48.81%1.42%3.97%-27.46%5.56%-19.84%0.89%6.22%
2018 vs 201925.80%5.29%4.96%109.91%14.88%17.47%9.15%20.61%-11.62%-0.29%19.57%
2019 vs 20205.80%3.80%4.70%4.30%6.90%4.25%11.90%-0.70%3.40%0%4.90%

Click here to see the number of potholes in Manchester in 2018

Potholes in London

A similar scenario was found in London, where the number of reported potholes currently exceeds 33,000. The number of potholes identified in some boroughs has increased by up to 170% in a 12-month period. Boroughs with the largest percentage increase in potholes included Islington (+170.40%), Sutton (+144.66%), and the combined borough of Richmond and Wandsworth (+57.21%).

The Number of Potholes in London 2019

BoroughDec 16 - Nov 17Dec 17 - Nov 18Dec 2018 - Nov 20192017 vs 20182018 vs 2019
Barking and Dagenham----%-%
City of London18927932347.62%15.77%
Royal Borough of Greenwich47168363945.01%-6.44%
Hammersmith and Fulham359225292-37.33%29.78%
Kensington & Chelsea363544-2.78%25.71%
Richmond & Wandsworth4438881,396100.45%57.21%
Tower Hamlets72695466331.40%-30.50%
Waltham Forest1,2681,6271,16828.31%-28.21%

Click here to see the number of potholes in London in 2018

What Causes Potholes?

Potholes are created as a result of the expansion and contraction of water on the ground, which has entered under the pavement through cracks that are caused by the wear and tear of traffic.

As temperatures cool, this water becomes ice, which then expands below the pavement, forcing the road surface to rise. Then, as the weight of traffic continues to impact the raised section, the pavement expands, bends and cracks, which weakens it further. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts, leaving gaps or voids in the surface, where more water can leak in and get trapped. This process happens repeatedly when bad weather occurs, causing the surfaces to weaken and incur damage continually.

Who is Responsible for Fixing Potholes?

The responsibility of maintaining roads falls to local councils, who need to ensure roads are safe for motorists and cyclists to use. This is a legal obligation as stated in Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980.

If local authorities fail in their duty to maintain and repair roads and pavements, and someone suffers an injury due to a pothole or other road defect, they may be entitled to claim compensation.

Talk to Us

If you have been in an accident that was caused by a pothole or other road defect, talk to the personal injury team at JMW Solicitors today to get your claim underway. Call us on 0800 054 6570 to find out more.

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