Ayr Advertiser

Compensati­on costs could have filled 340,000 potholes last year


COMPENSATI­ON payments made by local authoritie­s in England and Wales, to road users who suffered damage to their cars due to poor road surfaces, could have paid for an additional 340,000 potholes to be filled in, according to exclusive research by Citroën UK.

Comparing Department for Transport as well as Asphalt Industry Alliance figures, Citroën found that in the last year, local authoritie­s in England and Wales spent a total of £93.7m fixing over 1.4m potholes, at an average cost of £66.93 per repair. Over the same timeframe, total compensati­on claims of £22.7m were paid out to road users. These costs are made up of payouts equalling £11.6m, and staffing costs spent handling claims of £11.1m. The money used on compensati­on claims could have filled in an additional 340,000 potholes.

Since 2017, a total of £139.9m has been spent on damage compensati­on, which could have filled an additional 2.3m potholes. At the same time, between 2017 and 2021 (the most recent data available), police forces in England and Wales recorded 1,114 accidents on the roads that resulted in injury due to a ‘defective road surface’, with 355 people ‘seriously injured’ and 16 killed. Serious injuries are classed as those that require hospitalis­ation as an in-patient, including fractures, severe cuts, burns and internal injuries.

The research found a worsening picture on Britain’s roads. The frequency roads being resurfaced, on average, is now every 116 years, up 46 years from a lifespan of 70 years estimated in 2022. The average cost of filling a pothole rose to £66.93 in the latest data set, up from £63.18 the year before, and 300,000 fewer potholes were filled in compared the previous year. The one-time catch-up cost (the total cost of repairing roads back to a condition when the network can be managed cost effectivel­y), now stands at £14.2bn – up from £12.64bn in 2022. In 2017, the one-time catch-up cost stood at £12.6bn – it dropped to £9.3bn in 2018, before gradually rising in the years since.

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