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County Council Paid £800k as Pothole Compensation Payouts

Published on: 29 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 30 Mar, 2023

A Surrey pothole Image Surrey Ad

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Surrey County Council has spent more than £800,000 in pothole compensation payouts in the last five years but it hopes “front-loading” the road maintenance budget, by allocating more resources for work in the short term work to reduce longer-term budget requirements, will help end the broken-road scourge.

In the five-year period SCC repaired about 221,456 potholes along its rundown road network, at an average of 121 per day.

It was also announced that the government was to give the county £ 3 million to tackle the problem but some say this is “just a drop in the ocean” compared with how much the road budget falls in future years.

County Hall’s finances this year include a capital fund of £69.8 million for highways maintenance as part of a front-loaded £188 million that was announced in February.

That is set to fall back to £29.5 million a year – for the next four years – much more in line with the spending under its previous highways strategy which has led to the roads we have today.

It was also announced that individual councillor allowances of £100,000 to spend in their divisions would go, meaning any individual projects earmarked by members cannot go ahead.

If highways can not be maintained, the opposition leader at Surrey County Council warned, then the roads will fall into further disrepair and the number of potholes, and motorists insurance claims, will rocket.

Cllr Will Forster

Cllr Will Forster (Lib Dem) said: “The cut to is to the road maintenance budget, this will mean the road surfaces will get worse.

“The cut is notable in the next financial year 24/25 and makes the £3 million to repair the potholes from the Government look like a drop in the ocean.”

In 2018, Surrey County Council paid out £399,189 in compensation payments for claims relating to potholes – on both carriage and footway.

This declined to £135,949 in 2019 and was followed by two years where people were off the roads during the pandemic £83,415 and £79,364 in 2020 and 2021 – before climbing again as roads got busier in 2022 to £118,553.

These figures, the council said, relate to both property damage and personal injury with the “best endeavours” made to only include  compensation payouts, however, “some figures may also include elements of legal costs and disbursements.”

A spokesperson for Surrey County Council said the road maintenance, capital, budget agreed by the council in February totalled £188 million for the next five years.


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Responses to County Council Paid £800k as Pothole Compensation Payouts

  1. Garry Gingell Reply

    September 24, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    Do claim from SCC for pothole damage to your vehicle.

    It “only” took their insurance company 146 days to finalise my claim for a new tyre , which they also could not redeem full cost due to my possible financial betterment of wear on replaced tyre.


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