Roads ‘plagued’ with potholes taking over 18 months to fix

17 Apr 2023
  • Pothole in Stoke took 567 days to fix after being reported
  • Government has slashed road maintenance funding by £500 million
  • Lib Dems call for end to “pothole postcode lottery” and restoring of road budgets for local authorities

Individual potholes are taking over eighteen months to be repaired in some areas, new figures have revealed.

Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests has revealed that some councils in England are taking over a month on average to fix potholes once they have been reported, with some individual potholes left for 567 days before being repaired. 

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Government for creating a “pothole postcode lottery” by cutting local authority’s highways maintenance budgets by £500 million (28%) since 2020-21 and announcing only a £200 million top-up to the national ‘Potholes Fund’ in the Budget last month. The party is calling for these cuts to roads funding to be fully reversed.

Figures provided by 81 councils show the scale of lengthy pothole repair times across the country. It took Stoke-on-Trent City Council a shocking 567 days – close to 19 months – to fix an individual pothole after it was first reported. In London, Westminster City Council took 556 days – over 18 months, for one repair.

In total, the 81 councils reported 556,658 potholes in the financial year 2021/22, up from 519,968 in 2017/18. Roads maintained by Derbyshire County Council were the worst affected with 90,596 potholes, followed closely by Lancashire County Council with 67,439 and Northumberland County Council with 51,703.

Last year, it took Newham Council 56 days on average to repair the 138 potholes reported. Similarly, Lambeth Council took 50 days on average to fix their 462 potholes – five weeks longer than their 2017/18 average of 14 days. 

The Liberal Democrats want to see local authority highways maintenance budgets fully restored in addition to the national £200 million Potholes Fund top-up, so local authorities have the necessary funds to repair their pothole backlogs.

Liberal Democrat Local Government spokesperson Helen Morgan said:

“Potholes have become a plague on our roads. Motorists should not have to spend their journeys choosing between hitting potholes or dangerously swerving around an obstacle course of tarmac craters. 

“Hard working people are paying huge bills to repair damage from potholes, while this Conservative Government takes away the money local councils need to repair our roads. 

“It is not fair for local residents in some areas of the country to be waiting over a year for road repairs because their council cannot afford it. 

“The pothole postcode lottery needs to end. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Government reverses its cuts to councils’ road maintenance budgets in full, so they can get on with fixing our roads.”


Notes to editors

Full pothole FOI data available here

Longest waits to fix potholes (2021/22)

Local authority

Longest fix time (days)

Number of potholes










East Sussex


















West Sussex



Highways maintenance funding for England in real terms (2023-24 prices):





% change

Highways maintenance funding





‘Additional’ potholes funding




2020-21 funding figures available here. Converted to 2023-24 prices using HM Treasury’s latest GDP deflators. 3-year funding figures for 2022-25 available here. Additional potholes funding for 2023-24 available here.




Desks a computers in front of a wall painted with the bird of liberty

Back to press releases

A person using a laptop

Contact the press office


This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.