Rising pothole claims cost council 140k

Pothole, Edward Street, Hetton.
Pothole, Edward Street, Hetton.

The number of claims made to Derbyshire County Council for pothole damage has rocketed in the last year, figures reveal.

The authority has been forced to pay out more than £140,000 on 578 pothole damage claims over the last 5 years, with 318 of those claims made in the last financial year.

Throughout 2013/2014, a total of £71,140 was paid out by the council to claimants.

During the same year, 797 claims were put into the authority, with 318 of these being paid out, and 479 being refuted. This number has risen rapidly since the previous year, in which only 98 claims were paid out, costing the council £20,945.

A council spokesman said serious weather in the last few years had affected the state of the roads and fixing them was a priority.

He added: “We know that potholes are a problem and we have made it a priority to fix them. We have been using specialist jetpatchers to fix potholes across the county, costing £150,000.

“Our roadworkers have also been working extra hours, but we have also decided to invest to save and we have promised to spend £23m on road maintenance.

“It will pay for 100s of miles of roads to have their life extended by 10 to 15 years by being patched and surface dressed. The cash will come partly from reserves - £6m, partly from Local Transport grant - £3.5m and the rest - £13.5m would be borrowed.”

Also commenting on the figures, John O’Connell, Director at the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “The easiest way for any Council to avoid paying compensation for pothole damage is to make sure potholes don’t appear in the first place.”