A winter pothole explosion in south west Hertfordshire has been blamed on heavy rain and freezing temperatures during December.

A dozen pockmarked roads have been reported to the Watford Observer, spanning the Watford, Bushey and Three Rivers areas.

They include Water Lane, St Albans Road, Farraline Road, Deacons Hill and Stratford Way in Watford.

Mel Owen said potholes bent one of her car’s wheels and damaged the rear coil.

She said: "Last month I had my car fixed, but I couldn't pinpoint it to a specific pothole.

"It cost a couple of hundred pounds to fix which was not great at the end of November with Christmas coming.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there is some damage again after the huge pothole in Field Way, Mill End."

Other holes were reported in Park Avenue and Aldenham Road in Bushey, Oxhey Lane in Carpenders Park, Loudwater Lane in Rickmansworth, Field Way in Mill End, Sandy Lane in Northwood and Bridge Road in Hunton Bridge.

Stuart Pile, cabinet member for highways and transport, blamed the weather for causing the damage to the roads.

He promised hazardous potholes would be temporarily repaired within 24 hours, but added permanent repairs were preferable.

Councillor Pile said: "The formation of potholes during wintry weather is caused by rain water and thawing snow seeping into small cracks in the road.

"As temperatures dip, the water freezes and expands, enlarging the cracks. This causes cracks and potholes to appear, overnight in some cases, even in roads that otherwise appear sound.

"The sustained heavy rain we've seen over the last few weeks will have caused significant damage and our highways contractor, Ringway, will be dealing with making repairs on our behalf."

Matthew Kelley, Ringway divisional manager, said he would be working with the county council to "identify the most efficient and effective interventions for the defects being reported on a case-by-case basis" but couldn’t identify which potholes would be fixed first.

County councillor for Central Watford and Oxhey Stephen Giles-Medhurst, said some of the potholes he reported months ago have still not been repaired.

He added: "I am reporting dozens of faults a day, there is a continuing problem. The weather is not helping, but the county council is not investing enough money in dealing with the problem.

"I’m beginning to question exactly what Ringway is doing, some of the potholes I reported months ago still haven’t been looked at.

"I reported a lighting fault on December 8 in Boundary Way, and I’ve just been emailed four weeks later to say they schedule a site inspection. There is quite clearly a backlog and they have to pull their finger out."

Councillor Giles-Medhurst suggested that the delay could be costly, as any damage caused by a reported pothole would have to be compensated by the council.

He said: "If potholes have been reported and not fixed and there is an accident or someone breaks their ankle then the council will have to cover it."

Potholes can be reported on www.hertsdirect.org/highwayfaults or by telephoning 0300 123 4047.

Any claims submitted for damage to vehicles will be considered on a case-by-case basis.