Only two pothole damages claims pay outs in Havering last year, study reveals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 February 2019

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The council received 14 claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes last year but paid out only twice, figures have revealed.

Out of the total of angry motorists and cyclists making a claim to Havering Council in 2018 only two succeeded with a combined pay out of £1,952, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB analysis also revealed the local authority spent £1,922,118 repairing roads last year.

The figures compare to 212 claims made against neighbouring Barking and Dagenham Council with two succeeding.

Havering Council supplied the details after the business lobby group made a freedom of information request.

Cllr Osman Dervish, the council’s Cabinet member for the environment, said: “We have recently announced our proposals to spend £40million over the next four years on resurfacing roads and pavements and fixing potholes.

“This investment is likely to be one of the biggest road and pavement improvement programmes of any London borough.

“It comes in direct response to what residents say is a major issue. They have told us that they are worried about the quality of roads and pavements – we are investing significantly to improve them.”

He added it was clear that the borough’s figures were low compared to many others and had continued to fall since 2016/17.

Cllr Dervish said: “We will only pay when it is the council that is legally liable. Every claim is considered on its own merit and there is no automatic right to compensation.

“Under the Highways Act, a claimant would need to demonstrate there has been a failure on behalf of the council to inspect and maintain the road to a satisfactory standard.”

The FSB found that only 16 per cent of the 1,673 claims made against the capital’s 33 councils led to compensation.

Sue Terpilowski, the FSB’s London policy chairman, commented on the London-wide figures: “Potholes are not only a danger to road users.

“They cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to disruption for smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“Most small businesses rely on their local roads. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority.”

She urged the council to introduce a simpler way for road users to report problems, track them and submit claims.

Potholes can be reported on the council’s website.

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