HOLE LOT OF CASH: Sheffield council among those paying most for pothole vehicle damage

Authorities across the country are shelling out almost £2 million on pothole compensation.

Wednesday, 19th October 2016, 9:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:17 pm
Holes costing Sheffield council pots of cash

UK drivers last year lodged more than 31,000 claims, according to RAC Foundation, with latest stats revealing drivers lodging claims against councils in 2015-16 rose by nine per cent on year before with average claim worth £432.

A total of 31,483 claims were made against 204 local authorities who responded to the motor body's request for data ... equating to one claim every 17 minutes.

Sheffield saw 239 claims made for damaged vehicles. Of these 36 per cent were successful, leading to the council paying out £22,474 pot of cash to motorists, ranking the city 28th of 152 English authorities.

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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. It was followed by Surrey (1,412 claims) and Hertfordshire (1,369), although in Hertfordshire a mere 14 per cent of claims were successful.

Only the Isles of Scilly saw no claims at all, with Orkney Council and the City of London receiving just one claim each.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding 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 under-funding 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.

A spokesperson for Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield is in a much better position than most cities as we have secured significant government funding for the Streets Ahead contract to address highway maintenance across the city.

“This is a 25-year contract that commenced in August 2012. Amey is the Council’s partner and is carrying out the works. Any successful claims are dealt with and paid by Amey, not the council.

“Streets Ahead has resurfaced more than 2,250 roads, covering 450 miles, and the level of satisfaction with roads in Sheffield is increasing and claims are reducing."

Amey have planned to complete the first major phase of this work by December 2017, when 70 per cent of the city's roads will have been resurfaced.

Sheffield Council will therefore not be eligible for any of the allocated £50 million because they have separate PFI funding.