Beast from the East blamed as pothole compensation claims double

Media caption,
Why do we have so many potholes?

Highways England has blamed the Beast from the East storm for the number of pothole compensation claims against it more than doubling in 2017/18.

There were 528 successful claims relating to vehicle damage caused by potholes last year, up from 212 in 2016/17 and 187 in 2015/16.

Over the same period, the cost to Highways England of settling the claims rose from £54,301 to £164,341.

The organisation said in a statement: "Safety is our top priority."

The data, which was published following a Freedom of Information request, showed the increase in claims came despite the body filling almost 6,000 more potholes last year than in the previous 12 months.

The average payout for successfully upheld claims for vehicle damage caused by poor road surfaces was £311.25 in 2017/18 - higher than at any time over the past five years.

Highways England's total spend on road maintenance dropped from £248.7m in 2013/14 to £209.3m last year.

In October, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that local councils in England are to get an extra £420m to tackle a growing number of potholes

Mr Hammond also announced £25.5bn for Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025 - largely funded by vehicle excise duty.

The organisation added: "We know that good quality road surface is important to the four million drivers that use our roads each day.

"We set stringent standards for pothole repairs on our roads, and also regularly inspect our roads to help reduce the potential for potholes to form."

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