Tayside councils paying out £1,000 a month in pothole compensation

© DC Thomson
Potholes are a major bugbear.

Councils across Tayside pay a combined £1,000 a month to motorists whose vehicles have been damaged driving over potholes.

Figures released under Freedom of Information have revealed that since 2012/12, Dundee City, Angus and Perth and Kinross councils have paid out £61,027.35 for repairs.

More than two-thirds of that money was paid by Perth and Kinross, which was hit with compensation claims totalling £34, 398 in a single 12-month period.

Over the entire five years Perth and Kinross Council had to pay £42,671.35.

Individual payments typically range from around £100 to £400. However, larger claims are also agreed, with one complaint in Perthshire resulting in a payout of over £2,700.

A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said extraordinarily wet weather was to blame for the huge number of payouts in 2015/16.

She said: “Perth and Kinross suffered extreme wet weather conditions between December 2015 and January 2016.

“Due to the severity of the damage caused by the adverse conditions, the council received just under £1.8 million additional funding towards the repairs from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland.

“The increased level of damage to the network resulted in an increased number of claims for loss.

“Although the council focused its resources on flood damage repair and actual road deterioration repairs,it was impossible to achieve the target repair timescales the council specifies and normally achieves.

“The council therefore had to pay out on more claims than would ordinarily be the case.”

Dundee City Council has paid out £14,613.51 for repairs since 2012/13 but has managed to slash its annual bill by almost 50%.

In 2012/13 the local authority had to pay out £4,399.60 but since 2015/16 has reduced its annual bill to less than £3,000.

Dundee has only paid out £812 for damage from potholes this year, although that total is likely to increase over the winter period.

The council’s total bill for repairs over the past five years is £14,613.51.

A report published earlier this year showed the number of potholes in Dundee was falling, while the number permanently fixed at the first time of asking was on the rise.

Depute city development convener Councillor Mark Flynn said: “Potholes are always a high-profile element of the repair work on our roads network and they tell drivers a lot about the state of the carriageway.

“Increased investment in more first time permanent repairs and greater concentration on managing the road surface has created this positive trend that we are aiming to maintain in future years.”

He added that potholes can be reported to the council via its website.

Angus Council has had the lowest bill, paying out just £3,742.50 over the past five years.

Fife Council paid out 32,324.60 over the five years. Its single most expensive year was 2012/13 when it paid out for claims totalling £15,831.62.

Last year it paid just £3416.70

The figures paid out by Tayside and Fife councils are dwarfed by the £1.8 million claim one English council had to pay out in 2016/17.

Somerset County Council was hit with the massive bill after an accident caused by a pothole.

A total of 15,000 potholes were reported to councils across Scotland and more than a million across the UK.

The cumulative depth of the holes in the road worked out at almost four miles.

The RAC has said it dealt with 6,5000 breakdowns in the first three months of this year that were attributable to damage caused by potholes.

Driving over potholes can break suspension rings, damage shock absorbed and distort wheels.