Compensation paid by councils for damage caused by potholes has fallen by more than a half, with some giving out ‘next to nothing’, according to a new analysis of official data.
Based on data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Liberal Democrats and reported last month, the Telegraph reported that compensation paid by 85 councils fell from £3.7m to £1.7m between 2019-20 and 2022-23.
In fact, payouts by the same councils totalled slightly less than £1.7m in 2021-22.
AA president Edmund King said a lot of local authorities have tightened up the criteria for paying compensation.
He said: ‘Certainly what we’ve seen is that there’s been a massive increase in incidents on the roads. Drivers are damaging two wheels, two tyres and steering, which could be £5,000.
Mr King added that the amount of compensation paid out ‘varies enormously’ and that ‘some councils are literally giving out next to nothing’.
The AA said it was called out to 632,000 incidents where drivers had damaged tyres, wheels, steering or suspension as a result of hitting potholes last year.
It said this meant that on a national scale around two million vehicles damaged by potholes, costing an estimated £4.74m.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘Each claim for compensation sent to a council is robustly judged on its own merits and in accordance to the law.
‘Instead of paying for costly compensation claims, councils much prefer to use their budgets to keep our roads in a good condition, in turn reducing the risk of damage to vehicles and personal injuries.
‘However, this has become increasingly challenging, with an estimated and growing £14bn backlog of repairs to bring all local roads across the country up to scratch.’
Separately, analysis by SmartSurvey named Glasgow as the 'pothole capital of Britain', with 11.7 potholes left unrepaired for every 1,000 residents, followed by Edinburgh with 8.2 per 1,000 people.
Hereford is said to be ‘pothole capital of England’, with 7.9 potholes unfixed per 1,000 residents and Wrexham the worst city in Wales with 5.9.
The data is based on areas with at least 100 pothole reports from residents on FixMyStreet, with reports marked as ‘open’ until they are resolved.