Pothole reports aplenty as claims are settled by SBC

Potholes have been causing problems for Borders motorists.
Potholes have been causing problems for Borders motorists.

Scottish Borders Council is being inundated with reports from members of the public about potholes on the region’s road network.

No fewer than 1,360 such reports were received by the council in the 14 months from January 1, 2014, to February 28 this year.

A Freedom of Information response has revealed that, over the same period, 160 compensation claims were received from motorists seeking redress for damage caused to their vehicles by the potholes. Of these, seven were settled, 76 were closed with no payments and 77 are still open.

SBC, which is responsible for 3,000km of non-trunk roads, also confirms that, during those 14 months, another 20 claims – relating to pothole incidents occurring before January 1, 2014 – had been settled and paid.

Although the response does not give details of how much has been paid out recently, it reveals the council had spent a total of £592,000 repairing potholes in the last financial year (2014/15).

Earlier this year, Councillor Gordon Edgar, SBC’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said insurers for SBC had paid out over £48,000 in the seven years to 2013/14 in compensation claims to motorists whose vehicles had been damaged “because of the state of the roads”.

The highest payout came as a result of the harsh winter of 2012/13 when £12,514 was disbursed.

Mr Edgar was responding to the latest annual Scottish Road Maintenance Conditions Survey which showed that over 43% of Borders roads were in need of “substantial repair”, compared to an average of 37.1% across the Scottish network and 39.7% in comparable rural council areas.

In its 2015/16 budget, the council has earmarked £3.7m of revenue spending on “ongoing maintenance of the region’s road network”.