Plymouth council spent more than £1 million fixing potholes last year, figures show
THE city council spent more than £1 million repairing almost 9,000 potholes in eight months last year.
New figures show council workers fixed a total of 8,884 road defects between April and December – costing taxpayers a whopping £1,072,758, or £121 per pothole.
The data, released to The Herald under the Freedom of Information Act, also shows concerned residents reported a total of 1,264 potholes to the council in the final two-thirds of 2012.
And in the first ten days of 2013 there were 268 complaints – as many as in the whole of the previous month and more than in any of the previous eight months.
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These figures are likely to be lower than the true number, as the council declined to provide data for the period between May 1 and July 15 last year when its customer relation management system was being upgraded.
A council spokeswoman said: "Plymouth City Council, like all authorities across the country, is doing its best to tackle the growing problem of potholes following some of the coldest and wettest winters on record.
"The council recognises this is a significant issue for the city and for people using the city's road network and has been looking at all options to make extra resources available in a very tight fiscal climate.
"While the Government announced an extra £215 million for road repairs in December, councils are facing a half-a-billion-pound cut to their highways maintenance funding between 2011 and 2015."
She added: "There is still a long way to go and councils need increased and consistent funding to invest in the widespread resurfacing projects that the country's road network desperately needs."
The data shows where the most pothole complaints came from between July last year and January this year. Efford and Lipson top the list with 74 reports, ahead of Compton (71), St Peter and The Waterfront (67) and Plymstock Radford (64).
The council paid out a total of £12,898 to drivers for insurance claims relating to road defects between April 2012 and January 2013.
Car insurance claims for pothole-related damage on Britain's roads more than doubled in January compared to the same month last year, according to the AA.
Over four weeks, an estimated 1,000 cars in the UK were seriously damaged by potholes.
According to a study of nearly 23,000 AA members, a third said that they had suffered some damage to their vehicle caused by a pothole.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance said "Pothole damage is bad enough, but those making insurance claims are saying that there has been serious damage to suspension, steering and bodywork as well.
"In some cases, the driver has lost control or swerved to try to avoid the pothole and hit something else."
POTHOLES: the facts and figures
Potholes repaired by the council from April 1 to December 31, 2012:
Total cost to the council of fixing potholes from April to December 2012: £1,072,758
Total cost in previous years:
Complaints about potholes from April to December (excluding May 1 to July 15): 1,264
Complaints in final quarter of 2012:
Complaints January 1 to 10, 2013: 268