More than £12 million in compensation paid to motorists between 2018-202, says What Car? report

Councils and road authorities across Britain paid out more than £12 million in compensation to motorists between 2018 and 2021 for damage caused by poor road surfaces and potholes.

The figure was revealed following a What Car? investigation, which also showed that motorists logged more than 145,000 compensation claims for vehicle damage during that period.

Of those claims, 37,366 (25.7%) were successful, with authorities paying £12,991,216 in total compensation – approximately £347 per successful claim. By comparison, the cost of filling a pothole has previously been estimated to cost £47.

What Car? also surveyed 470 motorists, with 23.6% reporting they’ve damaged their vehicle in the past 18 months from hitting a pothole. Two-thirds of respondents were aware they could claim for the damage caused from their local roads authority, although just 10.2% had ever done so.

Last month, the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) published its latest ALARM report, which showed local authorities in England and Wales face a nine-year backlog of road repairs estimated to cost £12.6 billion.

National Highways, which manages a 4300-mile network of motorways, dual carriageways and other A-roads that link towns and cities across England, was found to have compensated drivers the most – totalling £865,254, said What Car?.

Meanwhile five county and city councils were found to have paid more than half a million in compensation between 2018 and October 2021: Lincolnshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Lancashire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

While 344 local and roads authorities answered What Car?’s freedom of information request, 161 of them stated they were unable to provide figures as road compensation often fell under the remit of county and city councils, rather than borough or district councils.

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