Scottish councils pay out £1.7m in pothole compensation
- 3 January 2012
- From the section Scotland
Potholes on roads across Scotland have cost local authorities more than £1.7m, according to new figures.
The money was paid out in compensation to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by roads in poor condition.
The statistics, which cover the last five years, were revealed by the Scottish Conservatives following a Freedom of Information request.
A recent AA study suggested Scotland has a higher number of potholes per mile than the rest of the UK.
Two severe winters have left many of the country's roads in a poor state.
The data shows that Scottish local authorities paid out a total of £1,738,966 in compensation for pothole damage between 2006/07 and 2010/11.
The country's largest local authority, Glasgow City Council, topped the list with payouts amounting to £355,530.
The amount it has handed over has risen in recent years, hitting a high of more than £197,000 in 2010/11.
By comparison, the same local authority paid out just under £20,000 in 2007/08.
Edinburgh City Council's five-year compensation total stands at £188,331.
South Lanarkshire and Aberdeen Councils also found their five-year bills reached six figures, at £215,473 and £114,780 respectively.
According to the figures, Western Isles Council has made no pothole damage payouts over the past five years.
Figures from Renfrewshire Council were not available.
Commenting on the statistics, the Scottish Tories' deputy leader, Jackson Carlaw MSP, said: "This is an astonishing level of compensation paid out by local authorities in Scotland to motorists and the £2m bill is just the tip of the iceberg, as there will be many motorists who won't have claimed for damage from their local authorities.
"Furthermore the compensation bill is only part of the cost of dealing with the claims as councils will spend vast sums of time and money dealing with each individual claim.
"The shocking state of our roads is a reality that every motorist and councillor knows only too well and that is why we proposed a Road Maintenance Fund in the recent Scottish elections to help fix the problem."
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: "Local authorities are responsible for local roads in Scotland. The Scottish government provides local authorities with significant levels of funding, giving them the freedom and flexibility to allocate these resources to road improvements based on local needs and priorities and, for the first time, keep any efficiency savings to re-invest in services.
"Our routine and winter budget for next year is £68.5m - an 11% increase on the previous year, which will help improve winter maintenance of the network.
"We will continue to maintain and safely operate our trunk roads and motorways with an extensive programme of works, investing a total of £700m over the spending review period."
Last January the Scottish government announced an extra £15m for local councils to cover the impact of winter conditions on the country's roads.