Scots drivers make bid for cash after plunging into potholes

Potholes on our roads are an expensive problem. Pic: Michael Gillen
Potholes on our roads are an expensive problem. Pic: Michael Gillen
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Over 2700 drivers have demanded compensation from Scottish councils for damage caused to their vehicles by potholes on the roads.

Frustrated motorists recovered over £98,000 in settlements from local authorities in the past financial year after raising claims about shoddy roads.

But the vast majority of claims - over 75 per cent - were knocked backed by councils.

The figures come from the RAC Foundation which says almost 29,000 drivers across the UK raised claims against councils for pothole damage last year, meaning a driver made a claim every 18 minutes.

Despite the high number, the motoring watchdog says the number of pothole claims made against councils has fallen from almost 49,000 in 2013/14.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “One reading of these figures could be that local roads are in better condition than they were.

“But that does not square with councils’ own assessment that the road maintenance backlog is actually growing, not falling.

“It could instead be that many drivers are put off by the time involved in claiming against a council while councils themselves do their best to deter claimants coming forward.

“But 28,971 claims in one year is still a huge number – three an hour, every day of the year.”

In the past year, only 21 per cent of Scottish claims resulted in payouts.

The most claims - 538 - were made against Glasgow City Council. The council paid a total of £18,402 after accepting 17 per cent of cases.

Just under 160 claims were made to South Lanarkshire Council, with North Lanarkshire receiving 144. Together Lanarkshire paid out on 88 claims.

In Falkirk, 90 claims were raised, with just nine being successful, while Fife Council received 94 claims, but paid £1136 to just three drivers.

Angus Council dealt with 53 pothole claims, but just 10 were successful, while Argyll and Bute gave compensation to seven drivers from the 35 who claimed.

The claim game on potholes

Councils refused the bulk of claims, agreeing to pay out in just 25 per cent of cases, down from 26 per cent in 2013/14.

There tends to be big differences between council areas.

South Ayrshire Council accepted 72 per cent of claims, but the Scottish Borders refused 96 per cent of its 133 claims.

The average amount paid for a successful claim was £294.