UK councils inundated with pothole compensation requests

Compensation being handed out to almost 90 motorists per week

 
New figures have revealed that councils across the UK are handing out compensation to around 90 motorists per week, after claiming their vehicle has been damaged by potholes.

In the past four years alone, 19,000 compensation claims have been settled by councils throughout the country and a further 6,000 claims remain outstanding. In total, £12 million in compensation payments have been made, meaning an average £650 payout per damaged vehicle.

UK councils inundated with pothole compensation requests

A road in the UK with potholes © Copyright Geoff Royle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

 

Potholes in the road can cause serious damage to a vehicle’s tyres, suspension and wheel alignment.

The figures were revealed after Freedom of Information requests were made to individual councils across the country, however, only one third replied so the real figure could be much higher.

Councils are now faced with the fact that they urgently need to be looking at spending more money on fixing the potholed roads, rather than having to fork out money to compensate motorists whose vehicles have been damaged by them.

Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman, Jenny Randerson, said: “We are seeing millions shelled out by councils when they just need to fix our roads. This is a symptom of the hand to mouth approach we have to infrastructure investment in the UK.”

A total of 500 councils were contacted over Freedom of Information requests throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Only 150 replied and from those alone it found that 66,497 claims had been made over the past four years for damage to vehciles caused by potholes. Of these, 18,350 have been settled and compensation granted after partial or full liability was admitted by town hall officials.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), there’s a £12billion backlog for road repairs in the UK, which could take at least fourteen years to mend all of them.

Councils across the country claim they fill in one pothole every 15 seconds and thorough repairs to the roads aren’t carried out because of lack of funds.

It’s estimated that there’s around 18 million potholes on roads throughout the UK, with ministers promising to spend an extra £1billion fixing them before 2020.

However, some councils have took it upon themselves to change the rules when it comes to the depth of a pothole and whether it actually qualifies for a fill and fix – one council stated that they would only fix a pothole if it was 2.36in deep rather than the 1.5in standard depth.

According to the RAC Foundation, motorists in the UK whose vehicle has been damaged by potholes, are making compensation claims against councils around every 17 minutes.

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