Pothole damage costs taxpayers £8m in 2020

Councils in England spent more than £8 million of taxpayers funds in 2020 in order to settle damage claims caused by potholes.

A Freedom of Information request made by automotive marketplace Heycar found that large sums are being spent resolving pothole claims, both for car damage and personal injury.

Though the average cost of fixing a pothole averages at around £70, this price varies across the country.

Out of the ten councils that reported the lowest average pothole repair cost, eight were located in the north of England in areas such as Oldham, Rotherham and Kirklees with an average pothole repair cost of £27 compared with up to £232 as reported by some southern councils.

Despite repairing 1.2 million potholes last year at an average of 20,000 per week, there are still more than 100,000 potholes on England’s roads at any one time.

Dan Powell, senior editor at Heycar, said: “Potholes are such a familiar sight, and I’m sure everyone will have a top ‘worst road’ in their area that comes to mind when potholes are mentioned – but they’re much more than just an inconvenience.

“They’re causing real damage to people and their vehicles and the rate at which potholes are appearing is too fast for councils to keep up with. So even more claims will be coming, further reducing the funds available for road repairs.

Cycling charity given pothole funds
£8m was paid out by councils last year for pothole-related claims

As a result of potholes, more motorists are suffering damage to both themselves and their vehicles.

In Brent, London, a payout of £20,500 was made to a motorcyclist who came off their bike after a pothole threw them off, while a single incident in Stoke ended up with a £63,000 claim.

The council that paid out the most to settle pothole-related compensation claims last year was Manchester with £1,165,279 followed by Derbyshire and Essex with payouts totalling £500,965 and £472,164.

Powell added: “Driving should be a feelgood experience, especially after the restrictions of the past year. However, poorly maintained roads only lead to concern and frustration. The pothole crisis only appears to be getting worse, and more funds need to be allocated to help councils fill them quicker.”