National Pothole Day 2023

Stuck in a rut: at least half of drivers rate local roads as “terrible” in North West, East side of England and Scotland

11 January 2023

More than half of drivers in the North West and South East (53%*) say their residential roads are in a terrible condition, making them the worst rated in the country according to a survey by the AA.

Pothole in road 
Q. On a scale of 0-10 where 0 is “terrible” and 10 is “excellent”, how would you rate the condition of road surfaces close to where you live?
Rank Region Residential Roads – “Terrible”
rating (0-4)
1= North West 53%
1= South East 53%
3 Eastern 51%
4 Scotland 50%
5= East Midlands 49%
5= South West 49%
8 Yorkshire & Humberside 46%
9 North East 43%
10= West Midlands 42%
10= London 42%
12 Wales 41%
13 Northern Ireland 37%

With local authorities up and down the country setting their budgets for the coming financial year, the AA is concerned that councils could decide to cut back on road maintenance spending to balance the books elsewhere.

The cold spell prior to Christmas followed by heavy rain in many parts of the country has led to a pandemic of potholes particularly on local roads. Various local groups will be hoping pothole protests** on National Pothole Day*** (15 Jan).

“UK roads will continue to crumble and crack into catastrophe.”
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA

On rainy days since November AA Patrols are called to - on average - an additional 225 breakdowns each day as a result of drivers hitting holes in the road surface often obscured by puddles. The main pot-hole breakdowns are punctures, wheel damage and even suspension faults. Rain-obscured potholes can also prove extremely dangerous and indeed fatal for cyclists and motorcyclists.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Step out your front door and you won’t have to travel too far to find a pothole. Years of underinvestment in the nation’s roads means we are seeing more potholes develop than ever before.

“While the North West and South East top the charts this time, most communities will say the main roads are usually in pretty good shape but the minor and residential roads are where the potholes create a menace (reflected in official road repair expenditure statistics). Many of these are used for Active Travel and exercise, such as cycling. Dimmed street lights add to the threat in the dark.

“It’s not just road surfaces that need upgrading. Worn road markings, damaged signs, streetlights no longer working, and overgrown hedgerow covering signs are all too common on UK roads.

“Sadly, this all points towards a lack of funding or ring-fencing by both central and local government. With tighter budgets planned, roads maintenance could be cut in favour other projects. Safe and maintained streets are vital for everyone regardless of how they use the roads, and we desperately need to see a massive cash-injection to upgrade local roads.

“Until that happens, UK roads will continue to crumble and crack into catastrophe.”

* AA Yonder Driver Poll, November 2022. 12,372 respondents

** Tenterden in 'pothole crisis' as campaigners call on Kent County Council to step up repairs (

*** NATIONAL POTHOLE DAY - January 15, 2023 - National Today