Pothole bill for Cambridgeshire costs nearly £5m
A staggering £4.7 million has been spent on repairing potholes in Cambridgeshire in just one year as well as £54,000 paid out in damages to drivers.
Cambridgeshire County Council spent the sum in the 2014/15 financial year, according to a freedom of information request.
Around £2.8 million came direct from the county council for patching and repairing potholes, including £518,139.64 which was from its one-off severe weather recovery fund.
The remaining £1.9 million came directly from a new grant from the Department for Transport. This grant is being cut to just under £1 million for the next 12 months, under a new system from Whitehall for funding bumps in the road.
Almost 22,000 potholes were earmarked for repair across the county between April and December in 2014, following on from 24,900 from the financial year 2013/14, latest figures show.
The massive task of filling them has been undertaken since, while compensation payouts to drivers have also run into the tens of thousands – with the last financial year seeing more than £50,000 in claims paid out.
“We invested £26 million last year on repairing Cambridgeshire’s roads to keep people and business moving,” said a county council spokesman.
“We are working hard to improve how we repair roads. We have also introduced a better online system for reporting faults so people can get the information, including photos, to the local team.
“We do our best to reduce the need for anyone to claim compensation and have seen the amount paid out last year reduce significantly from the year before and was less than in 2012/2013.”
In 2014/15 the council had an overall roads maintenance budget in the region of £7.45 million, which also included spending on cycleways and street lighting.
Pothole damage on the UK’s roads has hit drivers’ finances hard over the last 12 months, a new study has revealed.
And the costliest damage per driver was suffered by motorists in the east of England, who are forking out an average of £163.68, nearly three times as much as drivers in Wales whose repairs cost £61.83, according to research from Kwik Fit.
The system of paying for potholes has undergone an overhaul in recent times.
The Government 18 months ago said that a record amount of funding will help local authorities tackle potholes and improve local roads between 2015 and 2021, by providing more long-term certainty.
The new funding model means the county council will receive a guaranteed £15 million for local highways maintenance over this timeframe.
But it will no longer have access to a Department for Transport contingency pot for highways maintenance, which in 2013/14 paid out £3.5 million.