January 15, 2020 9.04 am This story is over 51 months old

Councils fork out £186k for pothole damages in Lincolnshire

Leaders have demanded more funding

In one year, damage caused by potholes on Greater Lincolnshire roads left local authorities with bills totalling more than £186,000.

Between them, Lincolnshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council forked out £186,716.90 in 2018/19, 80% of which was paid by LCC.

Despite Lincolnshire County Council spending £51,300,059 on road repairs up and down the county in the last 12 months, it was forced to pay out an extra £151,193.09 in compensation.

In total, people submitted complaints about 15,198 potholes to LCC.

Some 1,875 claims were made to the local authority, just 584 of which (31%) were successful.

The spend and payouts were significantly less in north and north east Lincolnshire, where local councils manage a fraction of road mileage.

The full breakdown across Greater Lincolnshire

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Last year we filled over 90,000 potholes and resurfaced over 400 miles of Lincolnshire’s 5,500 mile road network. As wet and frosty winter weather causes potholes to form quickly, we’ve got additional crews out fixing potholes on our roads right through until spring.

“We received 16,000 reports of potholes in 2019, down from 32,000 in 2018. We’d urge residents to continue to report potholes to us through our website so we can keep on top of any defects on our roads as best as we can, and keep road users safe.

“If drivers think their vehicle has been damaged by a pothole on Lincolnshire’s roads, they can submit a claim through our website. We investigate each claim thoroughly to assess whether the council is liable, to make sure we’re only paying out with taxpayers’ money when it is absolutely appropriate.

“Obviously, we want to see as much money as possible invested in our roads, which is why we do everything we can to repair potholes quickly and minimise the number of claims.

“Dangerous defects are often dealt with within 24 hours, while more minor defects can take a few weeks.”

Across the East Midlands, more than 60,000 potholes were reported to local authorities (about a complaint every eight minutes) and £326,354 was paid out to drivers.

In total, just under £119 million has been spent fixing damaged roads and holes in the region over 2018/19 – £1.5 million more when compared to the previous year.

The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information Requests across the country, were released by the Federation of Small Businesses as part of National Pothole Day campaigns on Wednesday, January 15.

FSB, alongside a number of council leaders, is calling for more funding from central government to support regular maintenance programmes.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill recently took to social media to highlight that local funding accounts for £25,000 per mile, compared with £62,350 per mile in London Boroughs.

Michael Weedon, FSB Policy Representative in the East Midlands, said: “I am urging local authorities to use National Pothole Day as a starter to fixing up our roads with potholes a major concern for small businesses in the East Midlands.

“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business, but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.

“These figures show just how widespread the issue is and how important National Pothole Day is as an initiative. It’s clear that governments, both national and in the East Midlands, need to sit up and take notice. Measures like more funding for local authorities and improving the coordination between authorities and utility companies, will go some way in helping ease the burden of this ever-growing issue.”