Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire councils pay out £32,000 pothole compensation

Councils in Staffordshire paid out over £32,000 in compensation to road users for incidents relating to damage from potholes in 2011-12.

Staffordshire County Council settled claims worth £26,752 while Stoke-on-Trent City Council paid £5,356.50.

County cabinet member for highways and transport, Councillor Mike Maryon, said the figure had halved from the previous year.

Solicitor Mervyn Smith said the onus was on drivers to back up their claims.

Mr Maryon said potholes that appear in the county's roads were a result of a previous lack of investment but felt the impact compensation claims had on his budget had reduced.

'Reasonable maintenance'

He said: "It was about £47,000 last year so it's dropped to £26,000.

"It's about 0.8% of the highways budget. It's very miniscule."

Mr Maryon added that the payout figure for a comparative county like Essex was "£4m over three years".

Mr Smith, who works in Stoke-on-Trent, said: "If you think you've gone over a pothole you couldn't avoid... and it's caused damage what you need to do quickly is report it to the relevant highways authority.

"The duty that's placed upon the highways authority is a reasonable one. They have a statutory defence and that is they have to be seen to carry out a reasonable system of inspection and maintenance.

"If they fail that test then they have to pay out."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites