Shocking cost of potholes as authorities told to ‘get a grip’

Pothole (stock image)
Pothole (stock image)

Authorities across the East Midlands - including Lincolnshire County Council - have been challenged to start getting to grips with the region’s broken roads.

The authority last week revealed a proposed 3.5% council tax increase, some of which has been provisionally ringfenced for road improvements.

The annual National Pothole Day took place last week with campaigners using it to highlight the blight of potholes.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has already revealed through Freedom of Information requests that local authorities in the East Midlands receive a complaint to fix a pothole every eight minutes.

In total, just under £119m has been spent fixing damaged roads and holes in the region over 2018/19 – £1.5m more when compared to the previous year.

More than £326,000 has been paid out in compensation to claimants in the region who had their vehicles damaged last year.

The figures revealed that just 35% of claims for vehicle damage were successful across the East Midlands, with the average pay out per claim equating to £237.

The FSB is calling for a number of measures to help improve road infrastructure including more funding for local authorities from central government.

It warns that unless additional funding is provided, the road maintenance problem is likely to increase, meaning more will need to be spent on repairs and damage claims. Better coordination is needed between utilities companies and local authorities when roads need to be dug up.

The amount of time that utility companies are responsible for the road they have dug up should be extended from the current two to five years.

FSB also wants to see the government ensuring there is a ‘simple system’ for both reporting potholes, as well as for submitting claims for damage to vehicles.

The latest figures come amid ongoing concerns about the number of potholes.

The County Council says it is spending more money than ever on repairs - and repairing more than ever.