Pothole Lottery As Claims Ignored

Thu 11th Nov 2021

The Beatles may have found 4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, but that is a drop in the pothole ocean compared to the huge total of 1.7 million potholes which were repaired in 2020.

But despite the government promising an extra £5bn in the recent budget to help with local road repairs, thousands of motorists are feeling frustrated and out of pocket after damaging their cars on a hole in the road.

New research has found that some councils are stingier than others when it comes to paying compensation for car damage caused by potholes. The process of claiming for damage is something of a lottery, you can apply to Highways England or your local council to foot the cost, but there are many loopholes and in many cases a local authority will just refuse to pay simply because they know many drivers will not have the time or energy to pursue compensation in small claims court.

It’s thought that many drivers are missing out on cash as the council claims they didn’t know a pothole existed in the first place. However, if a pothole is pointed out to the council they are obliged to fix it under Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980.

Campaigner Mark Morrell, known as ‘Mr Pothole’ has reported thousands of road defects in his time battling with local councils and the government. But his advice is to do your diligence, check if any claims have been registered on fixmystreet.com and then verify it on Google Maps.

He said: “If you can see the pothole on Google Street View and the timestamp is dated before the most recent inspection, then you could prove the council should have picked it up before you hit it.”

The worst council in the UK is Fife Council, who from 367 cases received, paid out on just four.