Revealed: Fife motorists report hundreds of potholes on region's roads

Over 400 requests for action with council

By Hannah Brown
Friday, 11th September 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Friday, 11th September 2020, 4:38 pm
Pic: TSPL
Pic: TSPL

There are currently 409 live potholes in need of repair in Fife Council.

The figure was revealed in a question from Councillor Tim Brett, leader of the Lib Dems. to a full meeting of Fife Council yesterday.

The figure is the number of requests for action submitted to the local authority.

Cllr Altany Craik, convener of the strategic planning and transportation committee said: "Not all are equal priority- this includes a variety of risk levels with different timescales of response, ranging from 24 hours to 12 months.

"Due to the national lockdown, there was a significantly reduced level of activity from reports, and road inspections were only prioritising the highest risk pothole repairs."

Cllr Brett also asked for figures on how many potholes have been filled in the first six months of 2020 compared to the 2019.

Cllr Craik said the figures would not be accurate as the council had changed to a new electronic system.

He said: "This major change has impacted the reliance of the data set. We require to review scrutinise and update the data before we can share the findings on a like for like basis."

But he said it had not relaxed timescales to tackle potholes.

Target timescales "remain broadly the same for defects that present the highest risk to road users and public safety. "

Cllr Craik said: "The approach is different, however. Emergency potholes and ones that are classed as dangerous are still treated within 24 hours as normal. There's no relaxing on the time of that."

A FOI request submitted in February revealed that motorists had a one-in-four chance of winning a pothole claim in Fife.

A successful claim had an average payout of £276 in the last financial year, but this has now dropped to 10 per cent, and an average payout of £200.

Scott Dixon, a consumer expert based in Edinburgh who specialises in motoring disputes, submitted the request.

He said: "This is completely unacceptable and reflects a trend with local authorities across Scotland."

Mr Dixon submitted another FOI request in July after a Dunfermline woman's £1,100 pothole claim was rejected by the council.

Mr Dixon said his FOI request sought to find answers as to why the claim handlers believed 'Fife Council maintains a reasonable inspection and maintenance programme.'

Mr Dixon said: "The case is a great example of how Fife Council and its claims handlers act against the taxpayer's interests, which ultimately costs more money in the long run by continually having to (badly) repair potholes and try to mitigate legitimate claims.

"Fife Council taxpayers deserve much better than this."

Mr Dixon expects to an answer to his request by September 24.

> Hannah Brown is the Local Democracy Reporter for Fife & Angus

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