Drivers bill council for car damage

A pothole gets filled in by workmen on Woodhall Road, Colinton. Potholes have appeared all over Scotland after the recent bad weather. For Evening News feature.

A pothole gets filled in by workmen on Woodhall Road, Colinton. Potholes have appeared all over Scotland after the recent bad weather. For Evening News feature.

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ANGRY drivers want cash from Falkirk Council after damaging their cars on the area’s potholed roads.

Officials are blaming one of the worst winters on record for poor road surfaces.

But it comes as Audit Scotland warns that, by deferring spending on roads, the country’s councils have been storing up problems for the future.

In December 2010, three claims were received by Falkirk Council about local road defects, but, by the end of January, a further 46 had been submitted.

Councillor Charles MacDonald, convener of the council’s environment and community safety, said: ”The problems of potholes is universal and the extreme weather we faced this winter has led to a much higher incidence across our road networks.

“There is a massive resource implication for the council as it is estimated that we would have to spend around £40 million to repair all road defects. At this time that is clearly far in excess of what can be allocated.

“We are attempting to prioritise the most badly damaged roads and have them repaired first.”

Robert McMaster, acting head of roads, said: “We have a number of teams dedicated to pothole repairs across the Falkirk Council area. We conduct regular inspections as well as relying on the public to inform us where the more severe potholes are located and respond to them as soon as we can.

“Recent weather, including extremes in temperature as well as heavy rainfall, compound the problem as the water and ice expands existing cracks in the road surface leading to more structural damage.

‘‘While you can carry out a temporary repair by filling the pothole, the underlying general condition of the road can mean that this repair will not last as long as a larger patch or full resurfacing.”

The news comes as Audit Scotland published a report claiming Scottish councils could do much more to get better value from the “limited funding” they have.

The report found that the state of the country’s roads had worsened over the past six years, with only 63 per cent in an “acceptable condition”.

The survey was carried out between March and October 2010, so doesn’t take into account the impact of the recent severe winter.

Despite this, Audit Scotland estimates it would cost around £2.25 billion to remove all Scotland’s road defects.