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Councils and road authorities paid £12m+ in compensation over potholes between 2018 and 2021, research claims

Councils and road authorities across Britain paid out more than £12m in compensation to motorists between 2018 and 2021 for damage caused by poor road surfaces and potholes, it has been claimed.

A What Car? investigation also showed that motorists logged more than 145,000 compensation claims for vehicle damage during that period.

The research suggested that of those claims, 37,366 (25.7%) were successful, with authorities paying £12,991,216 in total compensation – approximately £347 per successful claim.

What Car? also surveyed 470 motorists, with 23.6% reporting they had damaged their vehicle in the past 18 months from hitting a pothole. “Two-thirds of respondents were aware they could claim for the damage caused from their local roads authority, although just 10.2% had ever done so,” the website said.

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The research found that Highways England, which manages a 4,300-mile network of motorways, dual carriageways and other A-roads that link towns and cities across England, was found to have compensated drivers the most – totalling £865,254.

Meanwhile five county and city councils were found to have paid more than half a million in compensation between 2018 and October 2021. They were: Lincolnshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Lancashire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

While 344 local and roads authorities answered What Car?’s freedom of information request, 161 of them stated they were unable to provide figures as road compensation often fell under the remit of county and city councils, rather than borough or district councils.

The 2022 edition of the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA’s) independent survey of local authority highway departments in England and Wales recently suggested that, despite a 4% increase in average highway maintenance budgets, the reported backlog of carriageways repairs has increased by almost a quarter to £12.64 billion.

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