Road repair shortfall costs councils £15m in compensation

pothole - road repair required

Local authorities’ approach to pothole and road repair remains below par, the Highways Magazine has reported, as resultant damage caused to vehicles is estimated to total £15m in compensation this year, with councils bearing the bill.

A Britannia Rescue report highlighted that 143 local authorities have paid out £4.8m in compensation claims this year, with the total bill for the UK estimated to be around £15m. Almost 55,000 claims have been made over the last two years, with damage allegations resulting from potholes and the lack of road repair responsiveness, including ruined wheel rims, damaged suspension and punctured tyres.

Another survey by the GMB union into the continued deterioration of the road network, revealed that one in 20 of England’s roads have more potholes than a year ago, 30% of the roads in England need attention or a road repair solution, and a further 5% are suffering from serious deterioration and requiring urgent remedial action. Meanwhile, the findings of different, individual studies have also underlined the close correlation between road surface condition (and reduced investment in road maintenance) and a decline in road safety.

The figures confirm the severe state of deterioration throughout Britain’s roads and highlight the urgent need for a long term road repair and maintenance strategy, whilst exposing the continuing under investment in road maintenance as a result of budget cuts, creating a vicious circle. A funding gap of £800m in local authority annual road maintenance was revealed earlier this year in the ALARM survey.

As well as shrinking budgets, the pothole ‘epidemic’ has been intensified by a series of harsh winters damaging our roads and footpaths. Local authorities’ demand and expectation of a “more for less” approach is therefore increasing, presenting both challenges and opportunities for contractors delivering highway programmes.

Speaking to the Highways Magazine in May about the Department for Transport’s Pothole Review and the approach to road repair solutions, JPCS managing director Peter Shone said:

“Preventative approaches to road maintenance need to be planned so local authorities aren’t playing catch-up all the time. Having appropriate and well planned maintenance programmes for contractors to work to means the problem can be addressed quickly, thus reducing long term costs.

“One preventative approach involves implementing a programme to waterproof a road and footpath network, especially after the impact our past winters have had.”

JPCS has been maintaining the highways and byways of the UK since 1993. Undertaking a range of integrated highway maintenance services, we specialise in providing integrated highways term maintenance and specialist highways services, such as surfacingroad repair, pothole repair, sign installation, traffic managementcrash barrier systems and winter maintenance. JPCS works across two core areas: infrastructure – civil engineering and maintenance primarily within highways and rail; and energy – delivering innovative installation solutions for ground mounted renewable energy systems including solar farms and solar car ports.