Total Cost of Pothole Compensation Could Have Filled an Additional 340,000 Potholes Last Year, Finds Citroën UK Report

• More than £22.7 million** was paid out in damage compensation last year.
Total compensation payments since 2017 could have filled more than 2.3m potholes***.
Since 2017, more than 1,100 people have been injured on roads in England and Wales, 355 ‘seriously’ and 16 ‘fatally’, due to a ‘defective road surface’‡.
Average lifespan of a UK road now stands at 116 years‡‡.
From 1 May – 30 June, Citroën UK is offering a Free Pothole Damage Inspection for Citroën owners, which covers damage caused to wheels, suspension, and tyres

​Compensation payments made by local authorities in England and Wales, to road users who suffered damage to their cars due to poor road surfaces, could have paid for an additional 340,000 potholes to be filled in, according to exclusive research by Citroën UK.

Comparing Department for Transport‡ as well as Asphalt Industry Alliance figures†, Citroën found that in the last year, local authorities in England and Wales spent a total of £93.7m fixing over 1.4m potholes, at an average cost of £66.93 per repair‡‡. Over the same timeframe, total compensation claims of £22.7m were paid out to road users. These costs are made up of payouts equaling £11.6m, and staffing costs spent handling claims of £11.1m. The money used on compensation claims could have filled in an additional 340,000 potholes.

Since 2017, a total of £139.9m has been spent on damage compensation, which could have filled an additional 2.3m potholes. At the same time, between 2017 and 2021 (the most recent data available), police forces in England and Wales recorded 1,114 accidents on the roads that resulted in injury due to a ‘defective road surface’, with 355 people ‘seriously injured’ and 16 killed‡. Serious injuries are classed as those that require hospitalisation as an in-patient, including fractures, severe cuts, burns and internal injuries ††.

The research found a worsening picture on Britain’s roads. The frequency roads being resurfaced, on average, is now every 116 years, up 46 years from a lifespan of 70 years estimated in 2022. The average cost of filling a pothole rose to £66.93 in the latest data set, up from £63.18 the year before, and 300,000 fewer potholes were filled in compared the previous year. The one-time catch-up cost (the total cost of repairing roads back to a condition when the network can be managed cost effectively), now stands at £14.2bn – up from £12.64bn in 2022‡‡. In 2017, the one-time catch-up cost stood at £12.6bn – it dropped to £9.3bn in 2018, before gradually rising in the years since.

As part of its commitment to safety, driver well-being, comfort, and serenity, Citroën is offering a Free Pothole Damage Inspection for Citroën owners, including checks for damage caused to wheels, suspension, and tyres. The offer is available until 30 June at participating retailers.

The Free Pothole Damage Inspection includes checks on areas most commonly affected by poor road surfaces. Tyres are checked for damage, bulges, cuts, and tread depth. Wheels are checked for cracks and damage too. Key suspension components, such as coil springs and ball joints are also inspected. Retailers will also check tyre pressures and adjust these back to the recommended levels as part of the process. Where possible, retailers will also offer wheel alignment – at an additional cost.  

Many Citroën models – such as New C5 X – benefit from Citroën’s Advanced Comfort® Programme, with enhanced suspension and supportive seating for a smoother ride. All versions of New C5 X feature Citroën’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion® technology, which integrates hydraulic bump stops into the suspension system to better control compression and rebound on damaged surfaces.

Inside, New C5 X comes as standard with Advanced Comfort® seats. With broad cushions and seat backs, they combine high-density foam at the heart of each seat, and a thick 15mm layer of extra textured foam on the surface, to keep occupants comfortable and relaxed when on the road.

Greg Taylor, Managing Director of Citroën UK, said: “The 2023 ALARM report shows that the UK faces an 11-year and £14.2-billion backlog of road repairs. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that millions are spent each year on damage compensation for motorists. To help drivers avoid the worst of pothole damage, Citroën is glad to offer a Free Pothole Damage Inspection at participating retailers from 1 May – 30 June."​

* Based on total compensation costs of £22.7m and average cost of repairing each pothole of £66.93; Asphalt Industry Alliance Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) report 2023.

** £11.6m spent on compensation to road users and £11.1m staffing costs of handling claims; ALARM report 2023.

*** Total spending on payments to road users and staffing costs since 2017 (total of £139.9m) at an average cost of £58.94 per pothole.

Department for Transport reported Road Casualties in Great Britain (data included is for England and Wales only).

‡‡ALARM Report 2023.

†  ALARM report 2023 (England and Wales only)

†† ​​