How to Report a Pothole

Potholes and other road defects are an increasing problem in the UK, causing damage to vehicles and presenting safety risks to users, in particular, to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists.

It is the responsibility of the local authority to maintain roads and fix defects; however, you can do your bit by reporting those you see.

With that in mind, we have created a guide to make reporting potholes quick and easy for all types of road users.

Use Fix My Street to Report a Pothole

You can use Fix My Street to report any local street problems in the UK, including potholes, broken paving slabs, graffiti, fly-tipping and defective street lighting. These are mapped and reported to the councils responsible for fixing them. 

There is also an app available on both Apple and Android operating systems to make it easy to report a problem on the go. 

Once you have made a report to Fix My Street, you can track its status.

To give your fellow road users a heads up about a newly discovered pothole, you can add the details to Cycling UK’s Fill That Hole, a user-generated map.

Reporting a Pothole to the Council

To report a pothole to the council, you should follow these steps:

  1. Note the specific location of the pothole, e.g. the name of the road and where it can be found on the road i.e. by house number, numbered lamppost or by a nearby landmark.
  2. Find the contact details for your local council by going straight to their website or using the government’s Report a Pothole website.  
  3. Add details about the pothole. Some councils will have interactive maps that you can use to drop a pin on the location of the pothole, others have a contact form to fill in the details.
  4. Where possible, upload a photograph of the pothole.
  5. Try to give as full a description as possible with measurements if you can - smartphones often have a measuring tool on them. Use words such as ‘deep’ or ‘dangerous’ in your description if they apply. 

If the pothole you want to report is on a motorway or major A-road in England, you can contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. For road defects in Scotland, you can make a report on the MyGov website, and for those in Northern Ireland, you can use NIDirect.

Further Action You Can Take to Report a Pothole

Highways Authority has a category prioritisation system for timetabling a repair. The larger or more dangerous the defect, the speedier the repair. By using suitable adjectives to describe the pothole (e.g. “deep”, “large” and “dangerous”), you can encourage the council to address a defect quicker.

An example of the categories is here (note that local authorities will have their own policies):

  • Category 1 - those that require urgent or prompt attention because they represent an immediate or imminent hazard, or because there is a risk of short-term structural deterioration, including potholes greater than 50mm in depth
  • Category 2 - those that require attention but they do not represent an immediate or imminent hazard, including potholes less than 50mm in depth. Category 2 defects are split into three subcategories:
    • Pothole - those that are less than 50mm in depth that are expected to become Category 1 if not attended within three months
    • High priority - those that are expected to become Category 1 if not tended to within three months
    • Low priority - those that are expected to become Category 1 if not tended to within three to 12 months

If no action is taken to repair the pothole, you can make an application to your local council under Section 56 of the Highways Act, which says:

A person (“the complainant”) who alleges that a way or bridge—

(a)is a highway maintainable at the public expense or a highway which a person is liable to maintain under a special enactment or by reason of tenure, enclosure or prescription, and
(b)is out of repair,

may serve a notice on the highway authority or other person alleged to be liable to maintain the way or bridge (“ the respondent”) requiring the respondent to state whether he admits that the way or bridge is a highway and that he is liable to maintain it.
 

Following an application, you should receive written correspondence answering your questions and also setting out what action the local council interests to take in relation to the pothole.

Making a Pothole Claim

If you have sustained an injury due to the presence of a pothole on the road, you may be able to claim compensation. To find out more about making a pothole accident claim, visit our dedicated page or call 0800 054 6570 to speak to a solicitor.

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