The number of potholes reported to councils has risen by half in just two years.

The number of potholes reported to councils in England, Scotland and Wales has risen by almost half in just two years, according to new statistics.

Data provided to the RAC after a Freedom of Information request showed that more than half a million potholes were reported to local authorities in 2017 - an increase of 44 percent on figures from 2015.

Very bad quality road with potholes

The statistics showed that 512,270 potholes were reported last year, compared with 356,432 in 2015.

However, because some councils were unable to provide a response to the RAC's request, the organisation estimates that 2017 could have seen councils alerted to almost 675,000 potholes.

Deep pothole filled with water in Chichester between road and cycle path

English councils outside of London saw the worst increase in potholes over the two-year period, with a 55-percent rise, while Welsh roads saw the number of reports rise by almost a quarter (22 percent).

In Scotland, however, the number of potholes reported has stayed fairly constant, with just a two-percent rise in reports between 2015 and 2017.

Damaged asphalt pavement road with potholes

The news follows recent statistics from Highways England, which showed that the amount of compensation paid to motorists for pothole-related damage had risen sixfold in just one year.

The RAC's head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said the statistics showed that Britain’s roads were getting worse, and that the number of potholes reported was likely to be “the tip of the iceberg”.

Car avoids large water filled pothole in the road

“It is shocking to see the number of reported potholes in Britain has risen by nearly 50 percent in two years,” he said.

“Perhaps motorists are more inclined to report pothole defects than they were a few years ago, but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening. With over half a million potholes reported in 2017 and a more accurate figure for all authorities, including those that didn’t provide data, likely to be in excess of 674,000, this is sadly just the tip of the iceberg as thousands will go unreported every year.

Large deep pothole on UK road

“This means road users are then reliant on authorities finding these potholes in their regular inspections and taking action to fix them, which is probably less likely to happen. However, when road users report potholes, the onus is on the authority concerned to fix them or risk suffering subsequent compensation claims as a result of not doing so.

“For that reason, we urge everyone to report potholes so that motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and other road users don’t suffer the consequences of poorly maintained road surfaces, whether that’s damage to their vehicles, motorbikes or bicycles, or worse still a collision.”