Council paid out £195,000 in 2018 to drivers whose cars were damaged by Northamptonshire potholes

Damage to cars by potholes in Northamptonshire cost the taxpayer over £195,000 in 2018.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 10:11 am
Northamptonshire County Council paid out over 195,000 in 2018 to motorists who made claims on damages caused by potholes.
Northamptonshire County Council paid out over 195,000 in 2018 to motorists who made claims on damages caused by potholes.

A freedom of information request by a member of the public has revealed how much Northamptonshire County Council has paid out in the last two years to drivers who vehicles were damaged by potholes.

It reveals how a total of 1,647 claims were made against the authority in 2018, of which 491 were settled.

This amounted to a total payout over that year of £195,343.81.

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The council was able to deny responsibility for 1,078 claims.

The data does not necessarily mean the damage caused was in 2018, as claims can take months to be processed.

Meanwhile, data for 2019 shows the council has paid out £19,460 ffor 45 successful claims in 2019 so far.

It indicates a sharp cut to the number of successful claims this year - but many claims from 2019 will still be under investigation.

In contrast, a similar FoI published in May this year showed how, between March 2017 and March 2018, the council only paid out £10,501 in pothole-damage related claims.

It's not clear what led to the severe spike in claims in 2018 - but the council was given £6.7m by the Government in December 2018 for road maintenance and repairs.

2018 was also marked by the work of Brackley town councillor Mark Morrell - better known as Mr Pothole - who led several public campaigns calling on the council to fix its pothole problems.

When published, the complete figures for 2019's claims will show if Mr Pothole's campaigns and the council's repairs have been effective.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “As the responsible highways authority for Northamptonshire we are continuing to work to our policy, which determines the safety intervention levels.

“We inspect the roads and footways all year round but also ask that people use our Fix My Street service to report any defects. If defects meet our intervention levels they will be repaired as part of our programme.

“When using the Fix My Street service we ask that they provide as much detail as possible to include an exact location.

“The council has no influence over whether a motorist makes a claim or not. However Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 provides the county council with a statutory defence against claims where it can establish that reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous to traffic."