30,000 payout claims submitted over vehicle damage blamed on road conditions


Motorists made more than 30,000 compensation claims to councils in Britain for vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions in the last financial year, new figures show.

This equates to a claim being submitted every 17 minutes, but councils only paid out in just over a quarter (27%) of completed cases.

The analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation is based on data from 204 local authorities in Britain.

The average value of a claim was £432, but the average payout was just £306.

Hampshire was the council with the highest number of claims made against it at 1,952, followed by Surrey (1,412) and Hertfordshire (1,369).

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.

"Year in, year out, the backlog of work on local roads is estimated to run to several billion pounds."

A survey of highway bosses in England and Wales by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that it would cost £11.8 billion to repair roads to a reasonable standard.

Mr Gooding went on: "A pitted road surface isn't just a problem for motorists - for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.

"Just last week the Chancellor acknowledged that there had been decades of underfunding in the nation's infrastructure and that he was keen to support targeted, value-for-money public investment. Providing the funds to fix our roads would be a great place to start and would show rapid results."

Local Government Association transport spokesman Martin Tett said: "Councils are right to pay out if people have genuine claims. However, they will continue to crack down on spurious claims to protect the public purse and use this money to fix roads.

"Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements.

"Long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance is desperately needed to improve road conditions for motorists and cyclists."