If you consider a pothole to be an emergency safety issue, please call 01908 252353 (office hours) or 01908 226699 out of hours.

How potholes form

Find out more about the different types of surface defect in our Road Defects - Mini Guide. 

A pothole appears when the road surface has been worn away and a hollow appears. Potholes can form quickly and can be a hazard to people using the highways.

Water seeps into small cracks in the surface and over time this can worsen. Water pressure and vehicle movements can cause a pothole to increase in size very quickly. During the winter months surface water freezes and expands then thaws repeatedly in the road surface helping to make any gaps bigger.

As traffic moves over the weakened area it causes more material to become loose and eventually a pothole is created.

Our repair criteria

We investigate all potholes reported to us and we also carry out routine safety inspections on our highways too. The busiest roads, redways and footways are inspected more frequently. 

Potholes can appear in between inspections, especially over winter due to the weather conditions, so do report any you see on the roads and footways to us using the Report It section or call 01908 252353.

Any pothole over 4cm deep will be investigated. If there are several in one section of road, even under 4cm, we may plan to do a 'plane and patch' repair instead which is more efficient covering a larger area than individual pothole repairs.

More information about the types of surface treatment we use are in our Road Surface Treatment - Mini Guide.


More than 4cm deep

A risk assessment is made. We will then prioritise a repair if required based on this e.g. within 28 or 84 days or it may require an emergency repair.

Less than 4cm deep

A  risk assessment is made to determine is the defect is a hazard and if a repair needs to be scheduled in.

We have to use this criteria to prioritise repairs as we have a very limited budget.

You can watch a pothole being repaired on our You Tube channel