Four-fold increase in pothole compensation payouts
Compensation for pothole-related vehicle damage on England’s motorways and major A-roads has rocketed in the past eight months, figures show.
Some £329,000 was paid out between April 1 and November 30, compared with £82,000 in the preceding 12 months.
Highways England, which manages the roads, released the data in response to a freedom of information request.
It said the four-fold rise in payouts from 2017/18 to 2018/19 so far was due to severe weather at the start of 2018, with many claims processed after April 1.
Parts of the country saw freezing conditions brought by the so-called Beast from the East in February and March.
Damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels are among the most common vehicle problems caused by potholes.
The number of potholes recorded on Highways England’s network rose from 11,000 in 2017 to 16,000 in the first 11 months of 2018.
A Highways England spokeswoman said: “Safety is our top priority and we know that good quality road surface is important to the four million drivers that use our roads each day.
“We set stringent standards for pothole repairs on our roads, and also regularly inspect our roads to help reduce the potential for potholes to form.
“Since April 2015 we have resurfaced over 3,000 miles of our network and plan to resurface over 1,000 miles this financial year.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Severe winter weather undoubtedly wreaks havoc on the roads, especially those that are not in top condition, but it’s shocking to see that a 46% rise in reported potholes has led to four times as much being paid out in compensation claims on Highways England managed roads.
“We encourage Highways England to look carefully at its processes for identifying and repairing surface defects to ensure that any deficiencies in the road surface are fixed as soon as possible.
“The consequences of a vehicle hitting a pothole on a high-speed road can not only be expensive but also potentially lethal.”