Laura Sharman 13 October 2016

Councils received over 30,000 pothole compensation claims in past year

Motorists made over 30,000 compensation claims to councils last year for damage caused to their vehicles by poor road conditions, new figures have revealed.

The analysis by the RAC Foundation showed a claim was submitted to councils every 17 minutes in 2015/16.

Councils paid out in just over a quarter of cases, and the average value of a successful claim was £306.

Hampshire County Council had the highest number of claims made against it at 1,952 while in Scotland, Glasgow received the highest with 794 claims. The Welsh council with the highest number of claims was Cardiff with 237 claims.

The Isles of Scilly was the only council in the UK not to receive any claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes in 2015/16.

‘These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance,’ said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

‘Year in, year out, the backlog of work on local roads is estimated to run to several billion pounds.

‘A pitted road surface isn’t just a problem for motorists – for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.’

This year's annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey warned it will take £12bn and 14 years to get roads up to a ‘reasonable condition’.

In response, Cllr Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: 'Over the remaining years of this decade the Government will invest over £1.1m per mile in maintaining main roads and motorways, which make up just three per cent of all total roads. However, it invests £27,000 per mile in council-controlled local roads, which make up 97% of England's road network. This difference in funding puts the country's businesses at a competitive disadvantage and provides poor value for money.

'That is why we are calling on the Government, in its Autumn Statement, to put the funding of local roads on the same footing as main roads. We are also calling for 2p per litre of existing fuel duty to be devolved to councils. This would generate approximately £1bn per year and help ensure that our industries and other road users have access to well-maintained roads.'

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