In response to a freedom of information request, Herefordshire Council said it received 4,422 reports of potholes in council-maintained roads in the county during the 2022/23 financial year, up 44 per cent from the 3,080 in the previous year.
But the council also carried out 30,069 pothole repairs, up nearly 10 per cent from the 27,409 made in 2021/22. The cost of these also rose slightly, to £1.78 million.
Another freedom of information request found that the council has spent nearly a third of a million pounds arising from claims for compensation for pothole-related damage between 2016 and March this year.
The sum of £329,074 related to 142 settled claims – but £81,300 of that went on legal costs.
The remaining £247,774 amounted to an average of £1,745 in compensation per claim.
But with a total of 1,707 claims made over the period, barely one claim in 12 was upheld.
A hundred claims “are currently open”, the council said.
One of the largest individual expenses for the council related not to damage to a vehicle, but to a pedestrian. A total of £13,895, most going on legal costs, was spent in respect of a claimant whose “foot went into a pothole resulting in a fall” at New Mills Farm Road, Hoarwithy during the 2021/22 financial year, the council said.
Earlier this year, Herefordshire was ranked England’s 14th worst local authority for the share of its roads needing fixing.
The state of the county’s roads emerged as a major issue in last month’s council elections, with the Conservatives emerging in minority control, vowing to tackle the problem.
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