£100k compensation given to Staffordshire drivers because of potholes
More than £100,000 was spent compensating people due to the poor condition of Staffordshire's roads in 2017, it can be revealed.
New figures, released as part of a Freedom of Information request, show Staffordshire County Council paid out a total of £100,396 to claimants last year, with the highest single amount costing £3,396.
Just under one third of the 1,211 people who claimed for damages received a pay out.
The lowest amount compensated was £23.50 with the average pay out costing £255.46.
Last month the council announced they have pledged £5 million to fill more than 11,000 pot holes in the county this year.
That figure is on top of the county council’s annual £23.5m roads budget and the 20,000 potholes repaired in a typical year, which underlines the scale of the issue.
The additional investment will see four pothole “zapping” machines deployed alongside crews on the pothole, surface dressing and routine maintenance.
These 18-tonne machines help speed up repairs by blowing debris, priming the road and filling the pothole.
A dozen additional patching crews will also be funded, as well as extra surface dressing of roads to help make them more resilient and drainage improvement works in locations of known drainage problems contributing to pothole numbers
Helen Fisher, cabinet member for transport and highways at Staffordshire County Council said: “Staffordshire is a large county geographically with a bigger road network than many other councils so we would expect a larger figure than our metropolitan neighbours.
"Our insurers and legal team are committed to ensuring people receive fair but appropriate insurance pay-outs. The vast majority of claims are made by Staffordshire people and ultimately this is an additional cost to the council and wider taxpayer.”
She added: "We do have a huge road network here in Staffordshire, with around 6,000km of roads and these are inspected regularly by our team of highway inspectors.
"From these safety inspections our crews fix around 20,000 potholes every year. We are also investing an extra five million pounds in road maintenance this year on top of the extra £5m last year which helped fix over 31,000 potholes.”
Staffordshire County Council say people can go online or download the mystaffsapp to report a pothole.
The very urgent potholes are normally fixed within 24 hours and are classed as category one.
Other urgent category two potholes are tackled in seven days where possible.
Category three repairs, which are often on little-used rural roads, are addressed once the more urgent repairs are carried out.