Bumpy ride for drivers making pothole claims

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Claims for pothole damage to cars are being increasingly rejected by budget-crunching officials at Milton Keynes Council.

Over the past year a mere 15 per cent of claimants – just 19 drivers - have been successful in achieving compensation.

This is a quarter of the number that received a pay out three years ago and well below the national average figure of 23 per cent.

Most claims are rejected under Section 58 of the Highways Act, which gives councils a get out clause if they were unaware of the hole or had taken “reasonable” steps to maintain the stretch of road in question.

The latest figures, which come from the RAC Foundation, show MK to be the 49th tightest authority out of 207 nationally in the pothole compensation stakes

Last year, after rejecting 85 per cent of claimants, the council paid a total of £6,232 in damages.

This compares to £26,137 in 2012/13, when 36 per cent of claims were successful.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It could be that many drivers are put off by the time involved in claiming against a council while councils themselves do their best to deter claimants coming forward.”

MK Council officials are now hoping next year’s claims will be even lower.

They have already allocated £5m this year to road repairs as part of a £50m investment programme.

A spokesman said: “The number of potholes being reported in Milton Keynes has already been reduced by 40 per cent thanks to an extensive maintenance programme.

Since April, 150,000 sq metres of roads and roundabouts have been resurfaced over 52 different sites, using more than 10,000 tons of asphalt.