Councils in a pothole panic over £5m bill for car damage
Bad weather and decrepit roads have forced councils to pay nearly £5m in compensation to drivers whose cars have been damaged by potholes.
The dire state of Britain's roads has led to 54,000 compensation claims since 2010, according to research by the breakdown service Britannia Rescue. The average repair bill of £132 was higher than the cost of repairing a pothole – around £50.
Recent wet summers and cold winters have combined to make roads particularly vulnerable to potholes, as water seeping below road surfaces freezes, expands and loosens asphalt.However, the AA said decades of neglect was also to blame, with many of Britain's roads "past their sell-by date".
"Many rural roads have gone without relaying in 50 years," said Paul Watters, the AA's head of roads policy. "It's not a matter or filling a few potholes, it's redoing entire roads and that will take a lot of funding."
Of the 143 local authorities that responded to Freedom of Information requests, Surrey County Council paid the most in compensation payments in the past two years – £638,239. But it said that the figure included other compensation payments, such as for people who had fallen on paving stones.
In total, the 143 councils in England, Scotland and Wales paid £4.8m in compensation for pothole or other road damage in the past two years. The survey also found that one in eight drivers had suffered car damage because of poor road surfaces and that three quarters of drivers believed that roads were in a worse state today than they were five years ago.
"Cuts in road maintenance funding mean that local authorities face very difficult choices on the roads they prioritise for repair," said Peter Horton, Britannia's managing director.
In April, the Government published a review which recommended that local authorities adopt a "prevention over cure" approach. Last year a £200m emergency fund was provided by the Government for highway maintenance. Up to £3bn has been promised to local highway authorities for road improvements over the next four years.
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
Life & Style blogs
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA .NET Agile UNIX LIN...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET SQL Develop...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET SQL Developer (Software Developer, Softw...
£500 - £650 per day: Harrington Starr: Excellent opportunity for Murex Subject...