Pothole damage compensation goes up in North Yorkshire

Image caption,
Ms Lodge said she lost a week's worth of income after her taxi cab was damaged by a pothole

The amount of money councils in North Yorkshire have paid out on compensation claims for pothole damage has increased, BBC research has revealed.

In 2010-11 North Yorkshire County Council has so far paid out £73,986 for issues to do with highway maintenance - an increase of £5,000 on 2009-10.

York Council paid out £16,580 in compensation specifically for pothole damage, compared to £1,050 in 2008-09.

Both said they did not expect enough money next year to restore their roads.

North Yorkshire County Council said it had received compensation claims from drivers who felt aggrieved enough to apply for it.

Taxi driver, Maggie Lodge, from Scarborough, said she had claimed for £650 in compensation after a pothole damaged the tyre and alloy of her cab and meant she could not work for a week while the vehicle was repaired.

Ms Lodge said: "I hit this pothole and it really went with a bang and I knew it was a real bad one, I pulled over and realised that my tyre was down.

'Insufficient funds'

"It put me off the road totally."

North Yorkshire County Council said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

The BBC research revealed Conservative-led North Yorkshire County Council was budgeted to spent £56.6m on highway maintenance in 2010-11, but was not expecting to receive a sufficient amount to repair the roads properly as the council tries to save £37m next year.

The council said: "The highway maintenance budget has for many years been less than the level required to match the needs of the network.

City of York Council has also seen an increase in compensation payouts increasing from £1,050 in 2008-09 to £16,580 in 2009-10.

Councillor Ann Reid, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said the increase in the amount paid did not necessarily correlate to the number of complaints received, but those have increased from 142 in 2008-09 to 229 in 2009-10.

'Further reductions'

Ms Reid said: "There were clearly more claims last winter and previous years the numbers kind of fluctuate."

But she said roads in York were generally regarded as "good" compared to elsewhere.

"The thing about roads is that they are ongoing and they will eventually deteriorate. Our officers are brilliant and look for efficiencies, if we gave them the money they'd never stop spending on improvements."

Ms Reid said that between 250 to 500 potholes were repaired each week, but added it would cost about £31m to completely restore the roads.

The City of York Council said it had spent £9.73m on highway maintenance in 2009-10, which dropped slightly to £9.17m the following year.

It said it expected the highways budget to be further reduced to about £8.28m for 2011-12 as the council tries to save £21m in 12 months.

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