Compensation claims for vehicles damaged by potholes have rocketed across London, a new report has confirmed.
Using statistics obtained under a Freedom of Information Act, the BBC asserted that claims have risen by 37% in the last three years. The figure in 2007-08 was 2,664, and this rose to 3,646 in 2009-10.
The area with the most claims was the borough of Barnet in the North West of the city.
The Tory-run council dealt with 838 claims over three years at a cost to the council of £314,275. A council spokeswoman defended the authority, saying that the borough’s size and proliferation of major thoroughfares meant that higher numbers of claims were inevitable.
“As one of the largest local authorities in the country geographically, Barnet has a substantial number of highways spanning more than 725km, including several major arterial routes.”
Campaigners argue that the money spent on settling claims could be used to repair the potholes, which have become especially common following two very cold winters in the UK.
In addition to the threat they pose to vehicles on the road, potholes can also lead to serious injury or even death. Drivers may be forced to swerve to avoid them, and cyclists and bikers alike face being thrown into the path of other vehicles if their wheels strike the edge of the holes.
Graeme Jones, from the London Motorcycle Action Group, told the BBC: “Councils appear to have no control over this very foreseeable danger which could be avoided.
“Potholes have the ability to put cyclists straight onto the road, under the wheels of a bus or truck.
“More money could be spent on potholes, preventing serious accidents.”