Scots councils pay out £500,000 for pothole vehicle damage

Claims for damage caused by potholes have increased by nearly 70 per cent. Picture: Jane Barlow
Claims for damage caused by potholes have increased by nearly 70 per cent. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Motorists have been paid nearly £500,000 by Scottish councils for damage caused by potholes over the last three years, the RAC Foundation revealed today.

The biggest payout was in Edinburgh, where the total increased by almost 70 per cent to £29,329 in the year to March compared to 2013-14.

Claims for damage caused by potholes have increased by nearly 70 per cent. Picture: Neil Hanna

Claims for damage caused by potholes have increased by nearly 70 per cent. Picture: Neil Hanna

Drivers in the city also had the second highest claims success rate, with 54 per cent of the 512 lodged being approved.

Highland Council recorded among the largest increases, from £500 being paid out for a single successful claim two years ago to £18,613 paid for 35 claims last year.

Other big rises in payouts included

Perth and Kinross, from £796 to £11,562.

There was also a wide variation in claim success rates.

Glasgow, which attracted the most claims with 794, paid out for fewer than one in ten, while Renfrewshire paid out in 55 per cent of its 287 claims.

The figures, obtained by the motoring group from a Freedom of Information request, come two months after public spending watchdogs said there had been no overall improvement in Scotland’s council-run roads despite a 14 per cent increase in maintenance spending.

Total claims increased to £162,674 last year from £98,141 in 2014-15, but it was £228,161 the previous year.

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

“A pitted road surface isn’t just a problem for motorists – for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.”

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “It certainly looks like half a million pounds wasted on claims that could have been spent on actual repairs.

“It seems very unfair that only one in ten claims are successful in Glasgow, whereas Edinburgh and Renfrewshire pay out on half of claims.

“This could be one area where Edinburgh is actually the motorists’ friend.”

Edinburgh City Council transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “Following the winter weather in 2015-16, where heavy rainfall was followed by a cold snap, all roads authorities were left with challenging road conditions.

“That’s why we set up a dedicated squad to address the issue of potholes, implementing a £200,000 package of work to carry out an intensive programme of repairs.”