Lincolnshire council paid out £94k in pothole damages last year

Lincolnshire County Council received last year the 12th highest number of pothole damage compensation claims of 200 authorities, a survey by the RAC Foundation shows.

The figures, which broke down the 48,664 UK compensation claims dealt with by the foundation into local authorities, showed that the council paid out £94,725.30 in successful claims during the financial year 2013/14.

Some 76% of the 917 claims were successful, compared with the national average rate of 23%.

The figure is down from the 1,127 claims made in the previous year, which has totalled £161,199.33 in payouts. Some 90.6% of claims in 2012/13 were successful.

The RAC Foundation say the number of claims UK-wide equalled one every 11 minutes, with a total value of £3.2 million.

The average payout for a successful claim in 2013/14 was £286, down from £357 the year before.

Mike Coates, highways asset manager, said: “Lincolnshire County Council is responsible for managing one of the largest highway networks in the country (around 8,700km) and in this context our claims record is good.

“Like most of the country’s highway infrastructure, much of Lincolnshire’s road network is now approaching the end of its lifecycle. In some places, this is leading to a decline in road conditions, and more potholes forming, especially over winter.

“The additional £9m of investment from central government announced in December 2014 is welcome, but further investment is needed to arrest the decline in the condition of our roads. It is not sufficient to deliver all the improvements needed over our large network of roads.

“We are still assessing the detail of where the additional £9m will be spent. Our priority will be to extend our existing preventative maintenance programmes of patching, surface dressing and re-surfacing where it is needed.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:“Many drivers will be put off by the time involved in claiming against a council, and many councils do their best to deter claimants coming forward.

“But the fundamental problem lies not at the doors of our town halls but with central government. Despite occasional one-off grants related to periods of harsh weather, they are simply not giving councils enough money to keep their road networks up to scratch.

“Worn out road surfaces do not simply cause damage to vehicles they are also potentially lethal, particularly for two-wheeled road users.”