Edinburgh council admits to over 14,000 potholes and pays out nearly £70,000 in injury claims for road defects

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Nearly £70,000 was paid out by Edinburgh city council last year in compensation as a result of personal injury claims over road defects.

And the council has revealed that out of more than 17,000 reports of road defects in 2023, over 14,000 were potholes. Another 861 were utility manhole defects, mostly sunken manhole covers.

More than 14,000 of the road defects reported to the council in 2023 were potholesMore than 14,000 of the road defects reported to the council in 2023 were potholes
More than 14,000 of the road defects reported to the council in 2023 were potholes

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The data was released in response to Freedom of Information requests. They showed that in 2023, there were 61 personal injury claims submitted to the council relating to a road defect and a total of £69,015 was paid out paid by the council. The road with the highest number of claims reported was Princes Street.

In 2023, the council said, there were 17,188 reports of road defects or multiple road defects, which resulted in 14,266 defects being raised. A total of 14,046 of these were classed as potholes. Of the faults recorded, all 14,266 were inspected and 14,264 were rectified, with just two still awaiting repair, the council said.

A total of 1,110 injury, loss or damage claims relating to road defects. were received by the council during the year. The council pointed out there may have been multiple claims for one defect. The council said the available information showed 27 of the incidents involved cyclists, 155 involved pedestrians and 771 involved cars.

Transport and environment convener Scott Arthur said: "If people spot a pothole they should report it to the council. We aim to inspect reports as quickly as possible and target an inspection within five working days and categorise and prioritise our defects to ensure that the worst potholes are actioned first. It’s essential that we direct limited resources where needed, so our roads continue to be usable and safe."

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He said the council had a "robust risk-based approach" to maintenance of the city’s roads. "All public liability claims received are investigated fully.  All decisions on the outcome of claims are made, independently of the council, on a case by case basis, by our claims handling agents. Only where there is a legal liability is compensation paid."

He added: “Of course, concerns around the condition of our roads and pavements are justified. That's why last year  we invested an additional £11m into improvements, and this year we’ve gone even further by adding £1.5m to that total. We’re now on track to improve more square metres of roads and pavements than in any other financial year and as a result the rating of the condition of our entire road network, the Road Condition Index, has also continued to improve year on year."


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