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Councils pay out more than £2m in compensation for pavement trips

Councils last year paid £2.1m in compensation to pedestrians who tripped on pavements, according to freedom of information requests from motoring organisation the AA.

These were collected from 365 councils, who in total faced 10,200 claims for falls on pavements, where complainants claimed poor maintenance was a factor.

AA president Edmund King said: “The government and local authorities repeatedly encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and take to their feet or to two wheels for short journeys.

“But the state of the pavements means walkers are expected to run the gauntlet of pavement hazards that are just as dangerous as the potholes that can injure or kill cyclists and damage cars.”

Mr King said there was a particular danger in areas where councils have switched off street lights as an economy measure during parts of the night.

According to the AA, the London Borough of Hillingdon had the highest proportion of successful claims made against it, at 115 out of 148, and paid compensation of £346,596.

By contrast, Liverpool City Council had 448 claims made but none were successful.

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils know that the condition of pavements is a key priority for residents and want to make sure they are safe to use by all pedestrians. 

“Councils do a huge amount to maintain pavements with the resources available. Any deterioration of our roads and pavements is down to decades of underfunding from successive governments and recent severe winters. Councils want to bring them fully up to scratch but need a fairer funding deal and greater government investment to allow this to happen.”

Mark Smulian

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