Nearly a third of pothole damage claims paid out by Edinburgh City Council

The council have been criticised for using 'mitigating tactics' to dismiss claims.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 10:55 am

Nearly a third of pothole damage claims made by motorists in Edinburgh are paid out, new data has shown.

In 2018/19, 118 out of 404 total cases were settled by Edinburgh City Council, giving drivers a 29 per cent success rate.

The council were also criticised by consumer champion Scott Dixon for using "mitigating tactics" to reduce the number of successful claims and pay outs.

Pothole Pete is still on the lookout for new potholes to inspect

Transport and Environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said the council continues to invest heavily in road maintenance.

It comes as the Evening News' own roads champion Pothole Pete continues his crusade against poor road conditions.

'Simply unacceptable'

Mr Dixon, hosts the consumer website www.thegrumpygit.com, urged motorists to pursue claims for any damage caused by potholes.

Pothole Pete inspecting a pothole on Causewayside

He said: "The Council's claim handlers are clearly using mitigating tactics to discount claims and fob off motorists by relying on a statutory defence and saying that they cannot be held liable for potholes they are not aware of, which is simply unacceptable.

"I urge motorists to submit robust claims to hold the Council to account for the appalling state of the roads. One way of doing this is to refer to a pothole claim as a collision and not an accident. A collision holds someone liable whereas an accident does not."

The consumer champion, who has recently released a new book titled 'How to Complain: The Consumer Guide to Resolve Complaints and Motoring Disputes', added potholes must be maintained properly to help reduce problems despite previous repairs.

Mr Dixon said: "If the roads were repaired and maintained properly, the Council would not need to continually revisit the same potholes and there would be more money available to maintain and repair the roads.

"It is clear to all road users that the repairs are not made to a satisfactory standard and road maintenance is not a priority. If it was, we would see better repairs being made.

"We have to have our cars MOT'd so they are fit for purpose to drive on the roads, yet the roads are not fit for purpose to drive on anyway.

"This is something I have shone a spotlight on in my latest book to enable motorists to do what I do and seek redress."

More than 12,000 potholes fixed in 2018

The council said more than 12,000 potholes were repaired in 2018 with more than £1.6m spent on maintaining them.

Cllr Macinnes said: “We’d be interested in finding the sources of some of the claims being made. We regularly face criticism for this sort of thing, however last year we invested heavily in road renewal projects as part of our £15m spend and more than £1.5m repairing potholes and other improvements – as a result our independently-assessed road condition rating has improved to its best since 2011.

“The rate of settlements reflects our efforts to make sure our roads are usable, with the vast majority of defects made safe within target times – hence why there is often no need for the public to claim for damage.”

If you have a pothole you would like Pothole Pete to inspect, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]