£10m to curb soaring pothole compensation claims on East Yorkshire roads
A £10m roads maintenance programme has been launched in the East Riding to curb soaring compensation claims over pothole damage.
The number of people trying to get compensation from East Riding Council is six times higher than it was a year ago.
In the first two months of this year, there have been 91 claims for pothole damage, nearly as many as in the whole of last year.
Some authorities in England and Wales are facing hefty compensation bills but do not have the budget to address the potholes problem.
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In East Riding, the rush of complaints has prompted East Riding Council to double its pothole response team immediately and take longer term action.
In 2012, only three of the East Riding's 97 claims were paid. Nineteen are still outstanding.
The total East Riding roads compensation bill was £6,165 last year for pothole damage while Hull City Council paid out £3,984.51 to settle 23 of the 110 claims received.
With claims increasing, the East Riding will be keen to curb the problem before it escalates.
Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services at East Riding Council, said: "The council has prepared and will deliver an extensive £10.4m programme of planned road maintenance schemes across the East Riding in 2013/14, which will tackle the damage to our roads, including potholes.
"The programme will include a surface dressing programme in excess of £2m, the largest programme of its type in the history of this authority, which will help prevent further deterioration of the road network."
Delivery companies and taxi firms have been badly hit by roads they describe as "shocking".
Toni Pardon, of Beverley-based Westholme Cars, said: "There are lots of potholes at the minute, it's shocking.
"When cars go over them, they can be off the road for a while.
"It can do all sorts of damage and can be expensive.
"It's mainly around the estates, we've had people who have had to change wheels."
Tyre repair companies see a regular flow of people coming in for repairs after hitting potholes.
Paul Horsfield, service manager at Bush Tyres in Swinemoor Lane, Beverley, said: "We've had people asking what they can do about it. Sometimes they've taken a photograph of the hole."
As part of its plan to head off compensation claims, the council has also increased the number of condition surveys it is carrying out on roads in the East Riding.
The results of these surveys provide more up-to-date and reliable data regarding the condition of the roads, which will be used to target where investment is needed most.
Dealing with the problem day-to- day, East Riding Council head of streetscene services John Skidmore explained the scale of the challenge ahead.
He said: "The council is responsible for the maintenance of around 3,500km of highway network and, while the authority takes a pro-active approach to the upkeep of its highways through extensive surface dressing programmes, responds to hundreds of reports of potholes every year."
"Since January, in response to the inclement weather, including persistent rain, subzero temperatures, ice and snow, the council has doubled its number of pothole response teams to eight."
If you spot a pothole, visitwww.eastriding.gov.uk/environ ment or call the highways customer care line on 08456 001666.