Essex County Council spent £63 million repairing roads last year
More than £63 million was spent repairing and maintaining roads across Essex last year, it has been revealed.
Essex County Council also received 16,900 complaints about damaged road surfaces in 2018/19 – equivalent to more than 40 complaints a day.
There were 1,043 claims made for vehicle damage as the result of potholes or road defects, however just 52 were successful.
County Hall had to pay out £15,829 to those claimants.
The figures were revealed as part of a Freedom of Information request made by the Federation of Small Businesses.
The organisation is calling for more funding for local authorities from central Government to support regular maintenance and to help alleviate the pothole problem.
Alan Jefcoate, from the Essex Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Potholes are a major concern for small businesses in this region.
“Our members rely heavily on the local road network, with their staff, customers and trade deliveries dependent on fast and efficient road networks.
“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.
“These figures show just how widespread the issue is and it’s clear that decision-makers need to sit up and take notice.
“Measures like more funding for local authorities will go some way in helping ease the burden of this ever-growing issue.
“We are calling on central Government to consider the prevention of potholes and the impact they cause to our businesses and focus less on handing out bundles of cash to stem the symptoms resulting from a lack of overall investment.”
Last year County Hall was given £11 million of a national “pothole pot” to repair battered roads across the county.
The federation also wants the Government to ensure there is a simple system for reporting potholes, as well as for submitting claims for damage to vehicles.
Kevin Bentley, county councillor responsible for infrastructure, said: “We are absolutely aware of just how vital a properly maintained road network is, not just for businesses of all sizes, but for residents and visitors.
“We are confident we have a road network that is fit for purpose. Our roads are officially in the top quarter of councils for road condition, which is because we have been able to find extra investment to repair and improve them.”
Which many other councils have not.
“We invested an additional £2.4 million during the last financial year into a new scheme to repair potholes identified by Essex county councillors.”