A SELF-EMPLOYED courier has admitted he is “concerned” about providing for his family in the run-up to Christmas after being forced to take time off work due to an injury suffered when he rolled his ankle on a pothole.
Paul Fowler is seeking legal advice after suffering ligament damage while stepping out of his van and into a seven-centimetre deep pothole while on a routine delivery on the city’s Drum Brae. Mr Fowler, 42, says he expects to lose out on around £1,700 a week as a result of the injury, which has left him unable to work over the busy Christmas period.
It comes as the city council pledged to step up work to tackle the Capital’s crumbling roads after an outcry over more than £8 million of its near-£20 million road maintenance budget being unspent. The local authority says it plans to recruit ten more road maintenance workers – an increase of around ten per cent – to focus on “repairs and smaller re-surfacing schemes”.
But Mr Fowler says he is “worried” about providing for his 13-year-old daughter over the holidays, adding: “I was in tremendous pain, I think I would have passed out if I hadn’t sat and collected myself for a few minutes.”
“When I looked down and saw what I had slipped on, it was like a crater in the middle of the road, you don’t expect to be injured like that.
“I’m talking about losing £3,000-£4,000 and I still have to pay to rent the van for DPD, so I am a bit concerned about how it will go.
“I’m just furious, disappointed. I’m losing money and work for something that is not my fault.”
In November, it was revealed just 67 of 300 roads “prioritised” for improvement work have been resurfaced so far.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, the city’s transport convener, defended the council’s road repairs record, but the city’s Conservatives said the SNP-Labour coalition was “comatose on the backseat”.
Cllr Macinnes said: “There is no doubt that figures speak for themselves but what the recent coverage of road conditions in Edinburgh makes little of is that road repairs and resurfacing projects are, in fact, on the increase.
“There’s no denying that recent particularly severe weather, utility repairs and limited resources have had a real impact on roads across the country and not just in Edinburgh, but we are doing everything in our power to deal with this.
“We are also procuring additional design support from contractors to add to our experienced in-house design engineers and allow us to deliver more resurfacing projects moving forward, with the aim of clearing the backlog as much as possible, increasing our improved performance in the coming year.”
Conservative group leader Iain Whyte said: “Never mind spending millions on the tram completion project, we warned in February that ring-fencing ten per cent of the roads budget for cycling was ridiculous when Edinburgh’s roads were increasingly unfit for any users and that cyclists would benefit from properly-funded maintenance too.
“So it’s not as if the appalling state of our highways should come as a surprise to the administration, but they just hoped the problem would somehow go away.
“As they pursued their own agenda, they behaved like ostriches and buried their heads until the situation became so bad it could no longer be ignored. That’s no way to manage the capital city, and while ten extra staff is welcome as winter kicks in, it’s too little and too late.
“The SNP-Labour administration is not so much asleep at the wheel as comatose on the back seat.”