£70,000 spent in two years to deal with claims for injury and damage caused by potholes in Suffolk

Pothole road

Pothole road - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council has forked out tens of thousands of pounds in the last two years following claims from motorists who have been injured or had their vehicles damaged by potholes, it can be revealed.

According to data released under Freedom of Information legislation, just shy of £70,000 has been spent as a result of the issue, which includes compensation, legal fees and other costs.

In total, the council received 173 claims for the financial year 2012/13, of which 24 were successful. This rose to 54 successful claims last year, out of a total of 353.

The amount paid by the council has dramatically decreased, however, with an output of £56,576 in 2012/13, compared to £12,302 last year.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “Potholes and road defects are registered with highways in two ways, through regular inspections of roads by the highways service and by the reporting system which we rely on the public to provide us.

“Our inspection schedule and standards for intervention and repair have helped to decrease the amount of monies paid out. Dangerous road defects are prioritised and are dealt with immediately.

“Our contractors, KierMG who were established last year, undertake any works on our behalf and have worked tirelessly throughout a very busy season to deal with some of the extreme weather events experienced across Suffolk.”

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The largest amount of money spent by the council as a result of a pothole claim was £20,428 in October 2012 for an incident in The Street, Wingfield and £15,199 for an incident at a pub in Needham Market in July 2012.

The amount of money paid out includes compensation, third party fees and the council’s own fees.

It was announced earlier this year that up to £3million is available to Suffolk to repair and make improvements to the county’s road network, with these funds specifically meant for pothole issues.

A spokesman for the AA said: “With the good summer weather we would be very disappointed if those claims got to those levels again in the future.

“We are probably entering winter in a better shape because extra money has been spent on the network.”