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Pothole problems

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 13:46 UK time, Monday, 7 February 2011

Rachel Treadaway Williams investigates the plague of potholes affecting roads all over Wales and meets motorists who've been left out of pocket.

There are around 10 potholes for every mile of road in England and Wales, and the situation tends to be worse in winter as the snow and ice cause more holes to form. But even as the weather improves, the pothole situation is unlikely to, with government funding for road maintenance set to plummet over the next few years.

Photo of a pothole


So who should foot the bill if you drive over a pothole? Councils are usually responsible for maintaining public roads but if your car is damaged by a crater, getting the local authority to cough up can be tricky. Motorists have to prove that the council knew about the hole and hadn't repaired it within a reasonable period of time.

However, each council's definition of 'reasonable' can be very different. X-Ray conducted a survey of local authorities in Wales, asking each one how many pothole claims they've paid out on in the last two years. Of the 19 that gave us their figures the average payout rate was just 22%, but it varied hugely, ranging from just 6.5% in Flintshire to 50% in Conwy.

X-Ray also spoke to two motorists who tried and failed to claim compensation from their local council after driving through potholes which caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to their cars. Both have now paid for the repairs out of their own pockets.

Another option is to claim on your own car insurance, but be warned - you will usually have to pay for any excess and you also stand to lose your no claims bonus and could face higher premiums in future.

Have you experienced problems with potholes, or is there a big pothole in your area? If so, why not email us a picture? The email address is x-ray@bbc.co.uk.

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UPDATE: Top of the Pots!

We asked you to send in pictures of the worst potholes in your area and we've been inundated with replies. Here are some of the craters you've spotted around Wales.

Pothole, photo by Tony Richards


Tony Richards took this picture of a monster pothole on Hendrefoilan Lane in Swansea. Mr Richards’ son, Harri, burst two tyres after driving into the five-foot deep crater, which was full of water and so hard to see. Harri is currently pursuing a compensation claim from the local authority.

Damaged wheel caused by a pothole
Pothole, photo by Calum Duncan


Calum Duncan's mum badly damaged a wheel on her car in July 2010 after hitting this pothole on Cross Street in Bargoed, Caerphilly.

Pothole, photo by Justin Cooper


Justin Cooper damaged the suspension on his car after driving into this pothole near the Royal Oak pub in Ystrad Mynach. The repair bill came to £160. He has submitted a compensation claim to his local council but says the pothole has yet to be repaired.

Damaged wheel, picture by Russell Eveleigh


Russell Eveleigh’s son damaged a tyre after hitting a pothole on Caerau Lane in Cardiff - his compensation claim is ‘ongoing’.

Pothole, image by Fran Curtis


Fran Curtis drove into this pothole that had formed next to a drain. He had to pay £1,000 for repairs to his car’s suspension, wheels and tyres.



This pothole caused almost £1,000 worth of damage to an X-Ray viewer’s car. All four wheels had to be repaired, together with road springs and wheel bearings.

Pothole, photo by Rachel Marsden


And Rachel Marsden damaged her car after driving into this pothole on the A4222 near Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. Rachel's repair bill came to £320, which included paying for a tow truck.

Keep sending us your photos! The email address is x-ray@bbc.co.uk.



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