Edinburgh’s pothole damage payouts to motorists soar

Claims for Edinburgh pothole damage have nearly doubled in three years. Picture: Jane Barlow
Claims for Edinburgh pothole damage have nearly doubled in three years. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Claims by motorists for pothole damage on Edinburgh’s roads have nearly doubled in three years, new figures showed today.

The Capital also made the biggest payout among Scottish councils, with the total soaring by more than two-thirds to nearly £30,000 last year.

However, Edinburgh drivers were also among the most successful in winning compensation for vehicle damage.

The rate improved to 54 per cent of 512 claims being approved in the year to March, compared to 10 per cent of the 289 the previous year and 17 per cent of the 265 in 2013-14.

The city was second only to Renfrewshire, where 55 per cent of claims were successful.

By contrast, it was just 9 per cent in Glasgow.

Total payouts in the Capital increased to £29,329 last year from £10,384 in 2014-15 and £17,341 the year before.

They were among nearly £500,000 of claims paid out by Scottish councils over the three years.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “It certainly looks like half a million pounds wasted on claims that could have been spent on actual repairs.

“It seems very unfair that only one in ten claims are successful in Glasgow, whereas Edinburgh and Renfrewshire pay out on half of claims.

“This could be one area where Edinburgh is actually the motorists’ friend.”

The figures were obtained by the RAC Foundation motoring group from a Freedom of Information request.

Director Steve Gooding said: “These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.

“A pitted road surface isn’t just a problem for motorists – for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.”

The statistics come two months after a public spending watchdog revealed the Capital’s roads had deteriorated faster than most other Scottish council areas in the three years to 2014-15.

Audit Scotland found nearly 40 per cent of Edinburgh’s roads needed repairs, with the proportion judged to be in an acceptable condition falling by almost four points.

Maintenance spending also dipped slightly, the watchdog said.

However, the city council insisted things were improving.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “Following the winter weather in 2015-16, where heavy rainfall was followed by a cold snap, all roads authorities were left with challenging road conditions.

“That’s why we set up a dedicated squad to address the issue of potholes, implementing a £200,000 package of work to carry out an intensive programme of repairs across the city.

“As a result, we’re continuing to make good headway in improving the condition of Edinburgh’s roads and pavements, ensuring as many repairs as possible are ‘right first time’ to minimise disruption.

“We also encourage residents to report potholes so that we can fix the problem before any damage is done.”