Cumbria pothole compensation bill at £1m

Image caption,
Cumbria County Council said there had been "unprecedented" damage

Compensation of nearly £1m has been paid out in the last three years as a result of potholes and damaged roads in Cumbria, it has been revealed.

Cumbria County Council was responding to a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

It said it believed the figure was not unreasonable when compared to similar size councils and was because it had one of the longest road networks.

Its budget for highway maintenance for 2010-11 was £57.7m.

The council paid compensation of £348,907 in 2008-09, £244,565 in 2009-10 and in 2010-11 so far £364,051.

Council programme manager Rob Lawley said: "I think it is mostly a reflection of the length of our network.

"We have got just under 8,000km of road to look after in Cumbria.

"There are only one or two authorities with a longer length than that."

He said most of the compensation was for minor damage to wheels and tyres however there had been some claims for larger amounts where injuries were involved.

When asked if the Conservative and Labour-controlled authority's budget was enough to deal with road repairs in its area, he replied no.

But Mr Lawley said that was in relation to the amount needed for a large programme that would stop potholes forming.

He said there was enough money to keep roads "safe and reliable" for the remainder of this financial year and next.

"On a day to day basis, there is nothing to worry about. We are on top of potholes and we will keep the roads safe," he said.

Mr Lawley said the severe weather had led to "unprecedented" damage on Cumbria roads.

He said they had introduced 40 two-man teams who worked around the county to deal with defects.

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