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Newham Council received more than 1,000 complaints about potholes last year, figures show

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2019

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The council received more than 1,000 complaints about potholes last year, figures have revealed.

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali. Pic: Newham CouncilCllr Zulfiqar Ali. Pic: Newham Council

Angry motorists and cyclists sent 1,391 gripes to Newham Council in 2018 according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

In all 43 claims for vehicle damage were made by road users who came a cropper on Newham’s roads over the same period but the council only paid out on eight, £4,613.53 in total, the figures show.

They also reveal the local authority spent £322,646 repairing potholes last year.

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali, Newham Council’s Cabinet member for sustainable transport and highways, said: “Newham has one of the most ambitious and comprehensive highways maintenance schedules in London, with almost £3.5million spent on planned maintenance and pothole repair last year alone.

“The council also has a rigorous programme of highway inspections in line with the national code of practice to keep on top of wear and tear.”

Newham Council supplied the FSB business lobby group with the details after it made a freedom of information request.

Sue Terpilowski, the FSB’s London policy chairman, said: “Potholes are not only a danger to road users. They cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to disruption for smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“Most small businesses rely on their local roads. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority.”

She urged the council to introduce a simpler way for road users to report problems, track them and submit claims.

Potholes can be reported at the council’s website.

In Newham any claim resulting from an accident caused by a pothole is investigated before a report is passed to an independent insurer who decides the outcome.

Anyone not satisfied with the decision can take their claim to court.

The council inspects roads at intervals. It defends claims when reports are made that fall between inspection periods.

The RAC reported there were half a million potholes reported in 2018, a rise of 44 per cent on the year before.

Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy, described the figures as shocking and warned the problem was even greater than the numbers show.

In last autumn’s Budget, chancellor Phillip Hammond pledged £420million towards tackling the country’s growing pothole epidemic.

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