Councils pay out nearly £2 million over pothole damage to cars

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UK drivers lodged more than 31,000 claims for pothole damage to their cars last year, costing councils nearly £2 million in payouts, according to the RAC Foundation.

The latest statistics from the motor body revealed that the number of people lodging claims against councils in 2015-16 rose by nine per cent on the previous year, with the average claim worth £432.

A total of 31,483 claims were made against the 204 local authorities who responded to the RAC Foundation’s request for data.

That equates to one claim every 17 minutes in 2015-16.

However, councils paid out in just over a quarter of all claims (26.9 per cent) and the average payout for a successful claim was £306.

Nonetheless, the combined cost to local authorities was £1.78m, with the vast majority of successful claims made against English councils.

Nationally, the council hit by the highest number of claims was Hampshire, which faced 1,952 cases. Of those 32 per cent (306) were successful, leading to a total payout of £103,480.

Calderdale saw a total of 223 claims made for damage to vehicles. Of these 45 per cent were successful, leading to the council paying out a total of £36,732 to motorists.

In Kirklees, 235 claims were made for damage caused with 55 per cent being successful with the council paying out £10,487.

In Wakefield, there were 71 claims with just one being successful receiving a payout of £217.

And in Leeds, 71 claims were made of which 47 per cent were successful leading to the council paying out £17,734.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.

“Year in, year out, the backlog of work on local roads is estimated to run to several billion pounds.

“A pitted road surface isn’t just a problem for motorists – for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.

“Just last week the Chancellor acknowledged that there had been decades of underfunding in the nation’s infrastructure and that he was keen to support targeted, value-for-money public investment. Providing the funds to fix our roads would be a great place to start and would show rapid results.”

In April this year, the Government said it would give councils in England £50 million to repair nearly one million potholes on their road networks.