Pothole compensation payouts to motorists have risen almost 20 per cent in a year, new figures have shown.
Data requested by the Boston Target shows that almost 1,500 payouts have been made since January 2012 by Lincolnshire County Council – with numbers up from 2012’s £133,015 to £157,266 in 2013.
The county was last year dubbed the pothole capital of Britain by Britannia Rescue after statistics showed the county paid out the most in compensation for pothole-related damage. Now more figures, disclosed after a Freedom of Information request, show the county is continuing to struggle.
Cllr Richard Davies, the county’s highways boss, told the Echo the problem was one of government investment.
He said: “We want to prevent potholes in the first place and we defend cases vigorously but where liable, we pay out but it’s to do with the condition of the roads.
“There’s been under-investment for generations.
“I go on the continent a lot and you can see the impact of proper, sustainable investment.”
He said it was an issue for all parties to deal with, but said he was pleased that the Government appeared to be taking the issue seriously.
The payouts were dished out to compensate people for personal injury as well as damage to their vehicles.
Among the highest payouts was a sum of £9,615 which the council awarded when the victim stepped into a hole and fell, causing them to suffer an injury in June 2012.
Another sum, £6,500, was shelled out when someone else tripped and stumbled in a very large pothole in November 2012.
And in July this year, the council’s executive pledged to match the Government’s additional road repair funding of £5.5 million in order to fill-in thousands more potholes in the coming year.
Gary Hill, a senior Lincoln member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said hitting a pothole at the national speed limit could be catastrophic.
“It’s very dangerous if you hit a pothole,” he said.
“It depends how it deflates your car tyre, but it could pull you across the road and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.”
But he said things were now improving.
The figures for 2014 so far show this might be right – with £46,559 paid out by the council up to August.
But this may all change if the winter is cold.
In 2012, there were 149 claims in December alone.