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Pothole capitals revealed

by LLB Reporter
1st Feb 24 7:11 am

Barnet’s pothole epidemic earns it the title “pothole capital of London”. Although Glasgow has the highest number of reported potholes per capita among all cities in Britain, it is still not as bad as Barnet, where, on average, there is one reported pothole for every full double-decker bus.

This makes Barnet the worst local authority for reported potholes across all cities in Britain. Meanwhile, Lewisham authorities are the most responsive local authorities to pothole issues not only in London, but among all local councils in cities across Britain, with a record 98.45% fix rate.

Hereford is the pothole capital of England, with one pothole reported for every 127th resident. In Wales, this title belongs to Wrexham, with one pothole per 169 residents. Barnet is the pothole capital of London, averaging to one pothole for every 86th resident. Among cities with at least 100 reported potholes, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham have the lowest rates of fixed reported potholes. Meanwhile, Bath, Peterborough and Bristol authorities have the most responsive councils when dealing with such issues.

This is according to a new study from data collection experts at SmartSurvey, who analysed the reports of potholes registered via FixMyStreet.com for 69 cities across England, Scotland and Wales. Since some residents use the FixMyStreet platform more than others, fix rates were evaluated only for the cities with at least 100 reports registered since 2007, when the platform was launched, until January 29th, 2024.

Barnet is the pothole capital of London

London fared relatively well overall, averaging 1.7 reported potholes per 1,000 residents. However, across the 32 boroughs and the City of London, Barnet was, by far, the absolute worst local authority not only in London, but in all cities across Britain. With 4,656 reported potholes as at January 29th, 2024, Barnet averages 12 potholes per 1,000 residents, which is even worse than Glasgow, where this rate stands at 11.7. At quite the distance, the next worst areas in London are Richmond and Kingston, with 2.6 potholes reported per 1,000 residents each.

As for fix rates, among areas with at least 100 reported potholes, Lewisham council is easily the most responsive not just in London, but across all local authorities in cities across Britain. They fixed 98.45% of the reported potholes. Only four potholes remain outstanding out of a total of 349 reported to date. It is followed by the City of London (94.34%) and Bromley (91.21%). The most unresponsive councils with regards to fixing potholes are Westminster (4.17%), Hammersmith and Fulham (19.48%), Tower Hamlets (20.14%) and Barking and Dagenham (20.30%).

Overall, London counts 14,593 reported potholes still marked as unfixed as at January 29th, 2024. Another 11,572 potholes have been resolved. This means that the fix rate for potholes in London is 44.23%, thus less than half the reported potholes get fixed. On average, there are 1.7 potholes reported per 1,000 residents.

Pothole capitals across British cities

Glasgow is Britain’s pothole capital among cities. Since 2007, Glaswegians filed 9,780 reports of potholes, of which only 2,372 had been marked as “fixed” until January 12th this year.

The remaining 7,408 reports are spread rather evenly across the entire city of 635,130 inhabitants. This is the equivalent of 11.7 yet unfixed reported potholes for every 1,000 residents. The local authorities have a 24.25% fix rate when it comes to pothole reports.

Edinburgh is the second-worst place for pothole reports among cities in Britain, counting 8.2 potholes being logged on the site per 1,000 residents. Of the 5,538 reported potholes since 2007, only 22.25% had been marked as fixed.

Hereford is the third-worst city in Britain for reported potholes and based on the number of reports compared against its population, the most pothole-ridden in England.

Although much smaller in size compared to all the other cities in the top ten worst for potholes per capita, Hereford roads are covered in an unusually high number of holes (421) relative to the number of its inhabitants (53,100). There are 7.9 reported potholes that remain unfixed to date for every 1,000 Hereford residents. On the bright side, the local authorities are much more responsive compared to those in other “pothole capitals” in Britain. They tend to fix every other pothole reported to them.

Wrexham is the pothole capital of Wales. Over the past 13 years, the log of all reports on the site indicates that the local council has addressed only one in four reports of potholes. Today, the 135,117 locals still cope with 795 potholes across the city.

City dwellers across Britain filed almost 100,000 pothole reports on the FixMyStreet platforms. Councils tend to fix only four in ten potholes, based on average rates in cities with the most proactive residents. As at January 29th, 2024, 60,825 reported potholes across all of Britain’s cities are still marked as unfixed.

The region with the most city potholes per capita is South Scotland. On average, one should expect to spot a pothole once for every 211 inhabitants. This drives up the statistics for the whole of Scotland, making it the worst country for unresolved city-road pothole complaints.

Most responsive city councils

Bath authorities are the most responsive city council in Britain when it comes to addressing pothole issues. Residents appear to have started reporting potholes online from 2018, 97.77% of which were fixed. Of the 719 potholes registered over the past six years in Bath, only 12 remained unresolved as at January 12th, 2024. There is currently only one pothole for every 5,838 Bath residents, in a city of 95,000 inhabitants.

Inching closely behind with an impressive fix rate of 93.89%, Peterborough authorities are Britain’s second most responsive city council. Peterborough residents are some of the most proactive city dwellers in the country, and local authorities appear happy to oblige. This medium-sized city in Eastern England, with 215,673 inhabitants, dealt with 2,242 potholes reported over the past 17 years. Only 137 of them remained unfixed as at January 12th, 2024.

Nearly half a million people live in Bristol. They started reporting pothole issues online in 2017. Until January 12th, 2024, the council had addressed four in five of these reports. This is the third-highest response rate of all cities in Britain. Bristolians registered 1,420 pothole issues over the past seven years, of which 297 remain unaddressed to date.

Mo Naser, SmartSurvey CEO, said,  “One could argue that bigger cities have more issues to attend to, but they also have bigger budgets and more staff to deal with them.

“For instance, Truro is a tiny cathedral city, but the council fixes two in three reported potholes. This is the fourth-highest response rate of all the cities with at least 100 reports registered on the FixMyStreet platform.

“Bristol, on the other hand, is the tenth biggest city in the UK, yet the authorities have managed to fix four in five reported potholes. Bath and Peterborough councils excel at responding to pothole issues. Why do Bath, Peterborough, Bristol and Truro, whose populations and filed reports vary so widely, succeed while cities of comparable sizes to each of them struggle?”

Cllr Alan Schneiderman, Barnet Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change said, “Tackling potholes is a key commitment for us as a new administration following the local elections in May 2022.

“We are proposing to invest over £100million over five years to repair roads and tackle potholes.

“The data cited is also misrepresentative of the facts. The most urgent potholes are fixed within 24 hours and all others between seven and 28 days.

“Barnet is disproportionately affected by potholes with one of the largest road networks in London. Barnet also has amongst the highest volume of vehicle movements a day in London of which 1000 are HGVs.”

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