FOI figures reveal compensation bill

Car accident claims caused by potholes and dilapidated roads have cost councils in South Wales millions of pounds over the past years, according to a Freedom of Information request made by the Welsh Conservatives.

According to the disclosure, which as well as including car accident claim sums also accounts for slip and trip claims on pavements, Cardiff paid more in compensation than any other council, £1.5 million, while Vale of Glamorgan paid nearly £1 million.

Jonathan Morgan AM, the shadow minister for local government, criticised the figures, labelling the situation as "absurd" and suggesting more should have been done to prevent such injury compensation claims from ever arising.

"Not enough money is being invested in this area that's very obvious. Consequently, countless numbers of people are injuring themselves on our roads and pavements. While that in itself is unacceptable, it also means huge amounts of money have to be paid out eventually anyway," he said.

Adding, "In Cardiff, there is a multi-million-pound shortfall in highways funding. The city's roads are being completely neglected and the resulting £1.5 million in recent compensation payments is no surprise at all."

And with early indications suggesting that the winter of 2010/11 could be every bit as harsh as that of 09/10, there are concerns that the extreme cold could cause further damage to the road and result in even more car accident claims.

Carl Sargeant, the local government minister, comments, "I am very aware that last winter's severe weather left a legacy of road potholes and that local highway authorities faced gritting pressures. The resulting damage to roads is still a matter of concern to local residents and local authorities alike.

"Although it is not possible to predict at this stage what the weather holds in store for us in the longer term, the recent snow and ice suggests that it could be another hard winter.

Published on 2010-12-07 15:19:00