Lincolnshire's pothole reputation is not fair, says councillor
Lincolnshire's dubious reputation as Britain's pothole capital ignores the vast size of the county's road network, says a senior politician.
According to a Freedom of Information request by Britannia Rescue, the county council paid out £358,664.98 in compensation in 2012/13, and there were 1,412 claims for damage caused by poor road surfaces that year.
In Lincolnshire, the repair cost per mile is £65 and the cost per claim in 2012/13 was £254.
The national average cost of repairing a pothole is around £50 and local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland paid out £2.5 million in compensation in the past financial year.
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The research showed that Britain's roads are peppered with almost 200,000 potholes – or one for every mile of road in Great Britain.
Councils have received 32,600 compensation claims in the past financial year for everything from potholes ruining wheel rims, to puncturing tyres and damaging suspension – an increase of 79 per cent from the previous financial year.
West Sussex County Council was second in the national ranking, paying out £195,043.50 for 454 claims over 2,500 miles of road, compared to £148,881 over 200 miles of roads in the London Borough of Wandsworth. Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, stressed there are 5,500 miles of roads in Lincolnshire.
He said: "This list doesn't quite tell the whole story because it fails to take account of the size of each council's road network.
"We look after twice the number of roads than the second council on the list, and have 27 times more miles of road than the third.
"Of course we have a problem with potholes in Lincolnshire – the whole country does – but we are tackling it head-on.
"We've filled 50,000 potholes this year and next year we'll do even more.
"These statistics underline the challenge faced by local authorities across Great Britain.
"We must keep investing in our road network and we need central government to provide us with additional funding to allow us to do that."
Peter Horton, Britannia Rescue's managing director, said: "Britain's pothole epidemic has resulted from years of under-investment in our roads and has been exacerbated by recent harsh winters.
"Local authorities face difficult choices in the roads they prioritise for repair and we now have around 200,000 potholes on UK roads.
"Motorists should protect themselves and their vehicles by reducing their speed on potholed roads and also reporting damaged roads to their local council."
Not all successful claims made were paid out in 2012/2013.