Councils ‘pay out thousands of pounds for pothole vehicle damage’

23 Oct 17

Councils spent £104m repairing potholes last year and a further £3.1m in payouts for damages caused to vehicles by potholes, according to industry research.

Information obtained through Freedom of Information requests to nearly 200 authorities by Confused.com found that 1,031,787 potholes were reported in 2016.

It showed that councils were paying out thousands of pounds in compensation for vehicles damaged by potholes.

Wiltshire, for example, paid out £507,546 in compensation last year and recorded 6,803 potholes while Staffordshire issued £117,239 in damages but had 11,256 potholes reported.

Councils were also spending thousands of pounds on repairing potholes, the research from the financial services comparison site found. 

The most expensive area for the average repair was Westminster - the council filled in 250 potholes at an average cost of £2,400.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well.”

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s Transport spokesman, said: “Councils are fixing 1.75 million potholes a year – one every 19 seconds, which breaks down to an average of more than 10,400 per local authority.

“This is despite significant funding cuts leaving them with less to spend on fixing our local roads.”

Tett said the cost of the current roads repair backlog stands at £12bn and would take a decade to complete at current rates.

He added: “We are calling on the government to use the Autumn Statement to commit to provide the long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance that is desperately needed.”

A government spokesperson said: “Year on year, the Department for Transport is providing councils with record levels of capital funding – more than £7.1bn up to 2021 – for them to improve local roads and repair potholes.

“It is vital councils spend this cash to keep roads in good condition.”

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