Only two payouts from total of 200 pothole damage claims in Barking and Dagenham, survey shows

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2019

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

PA Wire/Press Association Images

There were more than 200 claims for damage caused by potholes but only two pay outs last year, figures have revealed.

Angry motorists and cyclists made a total of 212 claims for damage to their vehicles caused in Barking and Dagenham with just two compensation payments made, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The council was forced to cough up £2,101 for the two claims, the numbers show.

Pothole claims are decided by an independent insurer.

They also reveal the local authority spent £1,790,000 on general road repairs in 2018.

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said: “Keeping roads safe is one of the most important jobs we do as a council with priority given to repairing those that pose the greatest risk based on their size and location.

He attacked the government saying it spends 52 times per mile on maintaining national roads – which he said made up just three per cent of al roads – rather than on local council-controlled routes making up the remaining 97pc.

“The council will continue to make the case for long-term, consistent and fairer funding for local road maintenance to allow local authorities to address the £9.3billion roads repair backlog which would give all users safer roads more resilient to constant use,” he added.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Potholes are a huge problem for all road users but it is for councils to identify where repairs should be undertaken on local roads.

“As Barking and Dagenham Council are aware, transport in London is devolved. It is therefore a matter for the borough, the London mayor and TfL to maintain roads in the capital.”

The council supplied the business lobby group with the details after it made a freedom of information request.

Sue Terpilowski, the FSB’s London policy chairman, said: “Potholes are not only a danger to road users. They cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to disruption for smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“Most small businesses rely on their local roads. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority.”

She urged the council to introduce a simpler way for road users to report problems, track them and submit claims.

To report a pothole in the borough you have to fill in a form online.

According to the RAC there were half a million reports of potholes in 2018, a rise of 44 per cent on the year before.

Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy, described the figures as shocking and warned the problem was even greater than the numbers show.

In last autumn’s Budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond pledged £420million towards tackling the country’s growing pothole epidemic.

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