Pothole compensation claims 2015/16

Damage claim made every 17 minutes

Drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils for vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions in the last financial year. 

This equates to a claim being submitted every seventeen minutes in 2015/16.

However, councils only paid out in just over a quarter (26.9%) of cases.

The analysis by the RAC Foundation is based on data collected from 204 out the 207 local authorities in Great Britain.

The average value of a claim was £432, though the average value of a successful claim was lower at £306.

The council with the highest number of claims made against it was Hampshire (1,952), followed by Surrey (1,412) and Hertfordshire (1,369).

The only council in Great Britain to receive no claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes in 2015/16 was the Isles of Scilly. Orkney Council and the City of London received just one claim each.

The total number of claims received in 2015/16 by councils across Great Britain (31,483) is about a 9% increase on the previous year (28,971 claims in 2014/15) but less than the 48,945 claims made in 2013/14.

Three-year summary table:

 

Claims received by council highways authorities

Number of successful claims

(Percentage of all claims that were successful)

Value of successful claims

 

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

England

42,943

25,348

25,471

9,872

(23%)

6,143

(26%)

4,832

(27%)

£2,922,367

£1,876,056

£1,559,232

Scotland

4,511

2,746

4,733

1,126

(25%)

520

(21%)

749

(27%)

£228,161

£98,141

£162,674

Wales

1,491

877

1,279

266

(18%)

134

(17%)

249

(33%)

£72,960

£30,585

£62,332

GB

48,945

28,971

31,483

11,264

(26%)

6,797

(25%)

5,830

(27%)

£3,223,488

£2,004,782

£1,784,238

(Note, an exact comparison cannot be made because of slight annual differences in the number of councils who responded to FOI requests and whose data was subsequently used: 201 councils in 2013/14, 200 councils in 2014/15, 204 councils in 2015/16.) 

The government’s own assessment is that there is a road maintenance backlog of up to £8.6 billion in England alone. The latest annual ALARM survey of local authority highways departments puts it at £11.8 billion. A 2016 report from Audit Scotland concluded that only 63% of council-maintained roads in Scotland were in an acceptable condition and that 57% of road users were dissatisfied with road conditions in 2014.

The figures do not take into account either the size of the authority or the traffic volumes on their roads and hence there is no assessment of the rate of claims per mile of road under management or rate of claims per vehicle mile.

This is the full list of pothole compensation claims for GB councils in alphabetic order:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/GB_FOI_pothole_2015_16.pdf

This is the full list of pothole compensation claims for English councils ranked by number of claims:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/England_FOI_pothole_2015_16.pdf

This is the full list of pothole compensation claims for Scottish councils ranked by number of claims:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/Scotland_FOI_pothole_2015_16.pdf

This is the full list of pothole compensation claims for Welsh councils ranked by number of claims:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/Wales_FOI_pothole_2015_16.pdf

HM Treasury 2015 estimate of road maintenance backlog:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443898/Productivity_Plan_web.pdf

2016 ALARM survey:

http://www.asphaltindustryalliance.com/images/library/files/ALARM%202016/ALARM_survey_2016_full_report.pdf

2016 Audit Scotland report on road maintenance:

http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/report/2016/nr_160804_maintaining_roads.pdf

 

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