Members of the public complained about more than half a million potholes to local councils in 2017, an increase of 44% compared with figures from 2015, the RAC has claimed.

It found that 512,270 potholes were reported last year to 161 authorities compared to 356,432 from 152 councils in 2015.

English councils – not including those in London – saw the worst rise in the number of potholes reported between 2015 and 2017, with the figure increasing by 55%, while in Wales there was an increase of 22% and a 2% rise in the number of potholes in Scotland.

The RAC said its most recent study of breakdown showed its patrols dealt with 14,220 damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheel breakdowns in the year to end of October 2018 which represents 1.5% of all call-outs.

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The motoring organisation said this was the second highest percentage ever recorded since it started analysing the data in 2006, with the highest being 1.6% – a figure previously only seen in 2015 (Q3 & Q4) and 2017 (Q3 & Q4).

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes, said: “It is shocking to see the number of reported potholes in Britain has risen by nearly 50% in two years. Our own analysis of breakdown data shows the damage suffered by motorists is a constant source of frustration and expense, but the scale of the problem is obviously far greater than the numbers show. 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.”