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Scots councils forked out more than £135million on Scotland’s chronic pothole problem

CASH-STRAPPED councils have had to fork out more than £135million on Scotland’s chronic pothole problem.

Their efforts to patch up crater-covered roads have left them with an eye-watering repair bill over the past five years, figures obtained by The Scottish Sun on Sunday show.

Scotland's councils have spent more than £135m patching potholes in the past 10 years

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Scotland’s councils have spent more than £135m patching potholes in the past 10 yearsCredit: Les Gallagher
Potholes in Glasgow have seen the city branded the pothole capital of the UK

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Potholes in Glasgow have seen the city branded the pothole capital of the UKCredit: Les Gallagher
Road craters in Dundee

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Road craters in DundeeCredit: Newsline Media
A pothole at the junction of Hill Street and Reay Street in Inverness

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A pothole at the junction of Hill Street and Reay Street in InvernessCredit: KEN MACPHERSON
Council workers painted outlines around potholes on Edinburgh's Queensferry Road

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Council workers painted outlines around potholes on Edinburgh’s Queensferry RoadCredit: Andrew Barr
The road craters have cost cash-strapped councils MILLIONS

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The road craters have cost cash-strapped councils MILLIONSCredit: Andrew Barr

The menace to drivers[1] has seen a spate of burst tyres, damaged motors and even crashes with vehicles written off[2].

Aberdeenshire[3] Council topped the list, having spent £17million on repairs. We previously told how a monster pothole near Hatton left more than 20 cars[4] in the area with punctures.

But the Automobile Association[5] claimed local authorities are squandering money[6] by opting for cheaper, short-term solutions rather than more lasting repairs.

Jack Cousens, their head of roads, said: “Council budgets are now so stretched that they work on a ‘patch and run’ basis rather than permanently fix or resurface.

water gets back in.“So a pothole that was repaired when the size of a small plate could end up the size of a dinner plate.”

The AA[7] has reported a five per cent rise in pothole incidents across the UK since March last year. And Scotland’s biggest council, Glasgow[8], has been slammed repeatedly for the state of its roads.

There have been more than 120,000 complaints about conditions on Great Western Road alone[9].

Most read in Motors

And campaigner Mark Morrell previously branded the city the UK’s pothole capital[10].

We previously told how major routes in Glasgow were patched up ahead of the UCI world cycling championships[11] being held there last year.

Porsche driver died in a four-car horror crash after he tried to swerve a pothole

Figures reveal the council spends £5.5million a year fixing potholes.

And more cash has been forked out paying compensation[12] to drivers[13] whose motors[14] have been damaged.

Glasgow doled out 13,000 payments for pothole claims[15] between 2018 and 2021 after receiving around 43,000 complaints.

And since 2020, city council chiefs have coughed up £141,000 to vehicle owners.

Local cabbie George McIntosh, 68, said: “It’s normal now to expect potholes when you’re driving[16] about Glasgow. And it’s routine for motorists to hear the suspension going when they hit one.

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“The council has been spending a fortune on cycle lanes that only a few people use but they need to spend more fixing roads.”

Repair work by road crews in the Scottish Borders has cost £12million since 2018.

And bosses in South Lanarkshire[17] threw £11million at their pothole problem while Highland Council spent £10million.

Meanwhile, potholes in Leith, Edinburgh, have exposed cobbles on capital roads. And last year, cyclist Ben Glasgow told how craters in the Haymarket area were so dangerous he feared that someone could be killed in a crash.[18][19]

The AA’s Mr Cousens commented: “As much as potholes are a costly nuisance to motorists, they can be fatal to a cyclist or biker[20].”

How to claim pothole compensation

DRIVERS can claim compensation from councils if their motors are damaged by potholes.

Problem spots have to be reported to the local authority, who will then send out a road inspector to check it and organise for it to be repaired.

But it’s Transport Scotland who must be contacted if the damage is sustained on a motorway or ‘A’ road.

After submitting a report, drivers can contact the responsible council to make a claim.

They have to give full details of the damage the pothole caused and why the local authority is responsible.

They also have to give the specific location where the incident took place, such as a road name or marker post, plus the date and time.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads, said: “Drivers will think that’s right because the council hasn’t upheld their end of the bargain — and they should be held responsible in terms of the compensation claim.”

He explained that the best way to prevent the menace is to resurface roads every 10 to 15 years — instead of the 80-year gap in the UK.

But he suggested it would be more cost-effective for struggling councils if they used higher-quality materials for repairs.

Mr Cousens added: “There are some things they can do in terms of the machinery and materials.

“JCB has a machine called the pothole pro which does everything. That’s a good way to save cash.

“There have been examples of councils using cheaper materials rather than the ones they probably should have. And, as the adage goes, buy cheap, buy twice.

“Prevention is always much better than cure.”

transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “Cash-strapped local authorities are having to foot an enormous bill to fix pothole-ridden roads.

“The SNP must finally give councils a fair funding deal so that they can make roads across Scotland fit for purpose.”

Potholes have caused serious damage to vehicles on the road

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Potholes have caused serious damage to vehicles on the roadCredit: Les Gallagher
One cabbie said it is normal to expect potholes on Glasgow roads

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One cabbie said it is normal to expect potholes on Glasgow roadsCredit: Les Gallagher
Fixing the country's chronic roads have left councils with an eye-watering bill

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Fixing the country’s chronic roads have left councils with an eye-watering billCredit: Les Gallagher

References

  1. ^ menace to drivers (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  2. ^ even crashes with vehicles written off (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  3. ^ Aberdeenshire (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  4. ^ monster pothole near Hatton left more than 20 cars (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  5. ^ the Automobile Association (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  6. ^ money (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  7. ^ The AA (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  8. ^ Glasgow (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  9. ^ conditions on Great Western Road alone (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  10. ^ branded the city the UK’s pothole capital (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  11. ^ patched up ahead of the UCI world cycling championships (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  12. ^ compensation (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  13. ^ drivers (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  14. ^ motors (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  15. ^ doled out 13,000 payments for pothole claims (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  16. ^ driving (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  17. ^ South Lanarkshire (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  18. ^ Leith, Edinburgh (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  19. ^ feared that someone could be killed in a crash. (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  20. ^ biker (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)

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