Pothole compensation costs Suffolk council £200,000
- 28 February 2011
- From the section Suffolk
Suffolk County Council paid out £212,812 in compensation last year to individuals affected by potholes and other road defects, the BBC can reveal.
The figure, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, was down from the £359,325 paid in compensation the previous year, 2008/09.
In both years the money paid out in Suffolk was significantly more than at neighbouring county councils.
This year, Suffolk County Council has so far paid out £196,025.
BBC Suffolk and Inside Out are taking a look at the state of the county's roads as part of the BBC's Road Ahead campaign.
Freedom of Information requests were submitted to councils across the country, asking about their highways maintenance budgets.
The results revealed that in 2009-10, Norfolk County Council paid out £98,647 in compensation to individuals - less than half of Suffolk County Council's expenditure.
Essex County Council paid out £74,079 and Cambridgeshire County Council, £58,113.
In the financial year prior to this, 2008/09, Suffolk County Council paid out £359,325 in compensation relating to potholes and highways maintenance to individuals.
Norfolk County Council paid out £252,117, Essex spent £128,783 and Cambridgeshire County Council, £18,867.
Suffolk County Council did not want to comment on comparisons between the councils, but a spokesperson said: "The council only settles claims for highways potholes where it can be shown that the council is legally liable for the loss incurred by the claimant.
"Suffolk employs specialist claims handlers who assess all claims that are made against the council in respect of potholes.
"The council ensures that all claims are thoroughly investigated and that it has a robust process in place to assess liability."
The Freedom of Information request also revealed that Suffolk County Council spent £821,000 more on highways maintenance than it had budgeted for in 2009/10.
The council budgeted for £26.478m but the actual spend was £27.299m.
The Conservative-led Suffolk County Council said the figures include all reactive repairs and planned maintenance to roads and pavements.
Approximately 10% of the budget is spent on reactive repairs such as potholes and other highway defects.
Last week, the government said it would be putting aside £100m for councils to bid for if they felt they had been badly hit by potholes.
You can find out more about the state of the roads across the United Kingdom on the BBC's The Road Ahead website.
*2010-11 figures will be incomplete until the end of the financial year in April