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Just 16 per cent of claims paid out by London Councils over potholes

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A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) of all 33 London Boroughs has revealed that the total amount paid out in pothole claims across Greater London in 2017/18 was just £132,000.  Only 16% of the 1,673 claims received by all 33 London Borough Councils led to any form of compensation.

Road users across Greater London deserve to travel in safety. Tyres, suspension and steering are all crucial components of any vehicle and are all susceptible to damage after hitting a pothole.  The FOI asked about the number of legal claims that had been made for damage to vehicles, and of these, how many were successful and the value that was paid out.

The Data Table (below) reveals that there were 28,599 recorded pothole related complaints across all 33 London Boroughs. Receiving the most complaints were Brent with 3,187 and The London Borough of Croydon with 4,941, this despite Croydon being the second highest recorded for spend on repairs in comparison to the other London boroughs at £4.4m.

Data Table

London Borough Spend on road repairs 17/18 Number of Complaints 17/18 Number of claims for vehicle damage caused by

17/18

No of claims paid out Value claims paid out for vehicle damage caused by potholes Worst road for pothole complaints in each LA area 17/18
Barking & Dagenham £1,790,000.00 Info not held/available or is recorded separately 212 2 £2,101.32 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
Barnet Info not held/available or is recorded separately 1304 292 74 £23,670.00 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
Bexley £5,251,000.00 1865 17 3 £2,068.19 not held
Brent £290,644.23 3187 104 28 £15,453.00 Kenton Road
Bromley £695,745.28 3032 134 30 £14,529.00 Shire Lane – could also include kerbs etc..
Camden £1,900,000.00 898 98 ? £919.00 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
City of London £226,690.55 424 Info not held/available or is recorded separately Info not held/available or is recorded separately n/a Cheapside
Croydon £4,400,000.00 4941 Info not held/available or is recorded separately 9 £2,866.40 Little Woodcote Lane
Ealing £569,162.31 397 47 3 841,72 Popes Lane, Ealing Common
Enfield £1,900,000.00 535 51 7 £2,811.01 Enfield Road EN2
Greenwich £350,791.00 481 24 3 £434.00 Footscray Road
Hackney £242,092.16 277 20 3 £402.98 Lordship Road
Hammersmith and Fulham £101,961.00 186 31 4 £2,609.50 North End Rd
Haringey £100,821.00 Info not held/available or is recorded separately 37 0 £0.00 White Hard Lane
Harrow £2,863,012.20 454 17 6 £646.69 Northolt Rd
Havering £1,922,118.14 Info not held/available or is recorded separately 14 2 £1,952.14 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
Hillingdon £392,219.00 1445 95 32 £13,205.00 Breakspear Road South
Hounslow Info not held/available or is recorded separately 357 29 3 £423.00 Chiswick High Road
Islington £109, 968.00 136 81 13 £63, 796.00 St Johns Street
Kensington & Chelsea £1,260,391.00 42 16 2 £185.88 n/a
Kingston upon Thames £221,624.52 1587 13 1 £54.99 Ewell Road
Lambeth £1,362,000.00 13 11 1 £1,738.75 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
Lewisham £4,006,391.00 89 35 1 £25.00 Baring Road
Merton £378,835.00 1342 65 11 £18,314.90 Worple Road SW19
Newham £322,646.58 1391 43 8 £4,613.53 Romford Road (Comments this is a very long road)
Redbridge £2,503.00 659 25 2 £2,750.00 Cranbrook Road, IG1
Richmond upon Thames Info not held/available or is recorded separately 776 9 Less than 5 £1,100.57 Petersham Road
Southwark £1,170,000.00 322 5 3 £518.34 Walworth Road
Sutton £2,096,406.16. 711 35 Less than 5 Exempt as less than 5 Woodcote Rd Wallington and Wrythe Lane Carshalton with 11 each
Tower Hamlets £1,360,000.00 158 8 2 <£1500 Prestons Road
Waltham Forest £341,741.45 Info not held/available or is recorded separately 20 2 £235.00 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
Wandsworth £3,356,00.00 748 24 13 £9,021.54 Garratt Lane SW18
Westminster £589,055.76 842 61 7 £7,975.25 Info not held/available or is recorded separately
TOTALS £34,011,445.18 28,599 1,673 275 £130,624.98

The smoothest rides can be enjoyed in Lewisham, Kensington and Chelsea which recorded the least number of complaints. Then followed closely by Islington, who despite a low level of complaints, paid out the most (£63,796) in relation to the 13 claims received.

The study found that The London Borough of Barnet is top of the table with the highest number of damage claims received, with 292 claims. A total of 74 of these were successful totalling a pay-out value of £23,670. Richmond upon Thames, Tower Hamlets and Southwark reported the least number of claims.

The consequences for a small business of poor road maintenance can have a detrimental knock on effect on their ability to fulfil their business obligations as well as unnecessary vehicle repair costs. The FSB believes that there is an urgent need to prioritise carriageway repairs and in particular pothole repairs to ensure minimum disruption to all small businesses.

Sue Terpilowski OBE, FSB London Policy Chair, said, “Potholes are not only a danger to road users, they cause costly repairs, traffic congestion and bottlenecks, leading to consequent disruption to trading for our smaller businesses and the self-employed.

“London is already an expensive area to do business with soaring costs. Most small businesses rely on their local roads and transport systems. There should be simple way to report road problems to local councils, with identified problems quickly rectified. Highways maintenance needs to be a priority for our councils, to keep the road network moving for our small businesses in the city.” 

FSB Greater London asks that all  London Boroughs  realise that well maintained roads are important to their respective communities,  and in particular to realise the consequences on the productivity and project margins of  local businesses.  Also, for all 33 Councils to provide an online method of reporting, tracking, uploading a photo of a problem on a road or pavement, and to provide a simple system for submitting claims for damage to vehicles, whether they be cars, cycles, motorbikes/mopeds, lorries or vans.




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