Pothole repair times vary across Great Britain with some local authorities responding in minutes and others in days, according to new research.

An RAC Foundation study found three British councils look to immediately repair road defects that pose the greatest safety risk – Cumbria, Flintshire, and South Lanarkshire.

Harrow Council set a target repair time of just thirty minutes, while at the other end of the scale, Leicestershire Council had the slowest response time at 72 hours, followed by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at 48 hours.

The study found local authorities are increasingly using a risk-assessment approach to repairing potholes, with more-serious defects tackled first.

Priorities are determined by the nature of the pothole and the characteristics of the road itself, such as traffic flow and road user mix.

Most councils set minimum sizes for potholes before any action is taken, which ranges from 20mm deep in some areas, to 50mm in others.

More than half a million potholes were reported to local authorities in 2017, with the number expected to be higher for 2018 due to the harsh weather conditions experienced last winter.

Potholes can cause significant damage to cars, including damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs, and distorted wheels.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said while longer response times were understandable in more rural areas, motorists could still be surprised by the amount of disparity across the UK.

He added: “Those particularly vulnerable to potholes – cyclists and motorcyclists – might ask whether the speed of pothole investigation should be based solely on the risk to users.”

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said that councils require consistent and fairer investment from central government for local road maintenance.

“Keeping roads safe for all users is one of the most important jobs councils do and is reflected in the fact that local authorities are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds.

He added: “Priority [is] given to repairing potholes that pose the greatest risk based on their size and location, as recognised in this report.”

RAC Foundation analysis is based on data provided by 190 of the 207 local authorities in Britain.