Scotland’s biggest council has confirmed a huge rise in the number of pothole complaints it has received from motorists – up 272 per cent on last year.

Glasgow City Council said it received 602 reports in the first week of this year, compared withjust 162 in the same period last year.

The period coincides with plunging temperatures, allowing frost to break up the carriageway surface. Added to its already-growing list, this means the local authority will attempt to fill in 4,500 holes on city streets in the coming weeks.

Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said: “We are now witnessing a plague of potholes as a result of the severe weather. A combination of high rainfall, followed by severe frosts means road surfaces are crumbling at a significant rate.”

Yesterday, it emerged a pothole at the junction of Merrylee Road and Clarkston Road, in Glasgow, was six inches deep and motorists were forced to take evasive action to avoid it.

Mr Williams added: “Some of these potholes are wide enough to topple a cyclist or a biker off their bike. It’s extremely dangerous.

“It depends how hard you hit a pothole, but all of these examples have the capacity to tear tyres, damage suspension or badly affect the steering. Clearly, local authorities are not doing enough and they will say it’s because they do not have enough money. There’s a huge backlog of repairs.”

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “There is no doubt that our roads have been affected by the recent and prolonged spell of low temperatures. “This has led to a significant increase in the number of pothole reports we’ve received which, compared to last year, has increased 272 per cent. That said, in any year we expect to experience a seasonal rise in the number of potholes on our roads over the winter. In response to this we are maximising the number of pothole and patching squads undertaking repairs throughout the city. Over the coming weeks we hope to carry out in excess of 4,500 pothole repairs.”

Motorists have a valid legal claim against a local authority if a pothole which has damaged a vehicle had previously been reported to the council but has not been repaired.