It’s a fair question: Why do we spend money on reactive pothole repairs – isn’t it better to tackle the root cause by resurfacing roads, rather than fix them with a ‘sticking plaster’?

In an ideal world we’d have the money needed to keep potholes at bay, by resurfacing and upgrading roads as they wear out.

But councils’ core spending power has been cut by 23.3 per cent in real terms in in 2024/25 compared to 2010/11, according to the Local Government Association.

Reactive repairs are essential to deal with road defects in the here and now that would otherwise pose a risk to road users.

Last month, our team completed 1,168 pothole repairs across Swindon, of which:

  • 848 were fixed within five working days of being reported
  • 1,095 were identified by our team of five highway inspectors who regularly check 522 miles of Swindon’s roads and all 646 miles of paths/pavements and 76 miles of cycle paths
  • 202 repairs were reported by residents, of which 73 were in criteria for a repair.

For a pothole to be considered a safety defect, it must be at least 40mm deep. Road surface potholes that pose a very high level of safety risk are completed within 24 hours. We aim to complete all other pothole repairs within 10 working days, with the majority completed within five working days. Other defects may be repaired within six weeks.

For defects less than 40mm deep – a risk assessment is made in line with our Carriageway and Footway Defects Management Plan to determine if the defect is a hazard and if a repair is necessary.

Get more answers to common questions on pothole repairs.