Another bump in the road for Midlothian Council

Potholed roads in Midlothian - Eastfield Farm Road, Penicuik.
Potholed roads in Midlothian - Eastfield Farm Road, Penicuik.

The number of potholes in Midlothian has risen steeply in recent years, with the local authority estimating it would cost £24 million to carry out all the repairs needed.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Scottish Conservatives also revealed that from April 2017 to March 2018, there were 1321 potholes reported to or identified by the council. There were no previous figures to compare this to other than the council estimating 100 reports per month when asked last year. The council admits approximately 30 per cent of the road network requires to be considered for maintenance, costing £24m.

In 2018 the council received 235 pothole compensation claims, up from 75 the previous year. Of the claims made last year 124 were dealt with, 58 of which were successful, costing Midlothian Council £8,938, making an average payout of £154. However, in 2017 the council paid out £15,519 for just 10 successful claims. The number of claims has risen rather dramatically in recent years with only 38 made in 2014.

Lothian List MSP Miles Briggs (Con) said: “The number of reported potholes in Midlothian is very concerning and a safety hazard for motorists, cyclists and other road users.

“These figures show that potholes are a huge issue for motorists in Midlothian, with a significant jump in the number of claims received seeking compensation against pothole damage.

“The state of disrepair of roads in Midlothian can be seen by the extent of the road maintenance backlog, despite £20,000 a month being spent on pothole repairs.

“The Scottish Conservatives launched our ‘Save Our Roads’ campaign last summer, which pledges £100m for a Pothole Action Fund to properly invest in well maintained roads.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “The extreme weather we experienced last year during the Beast from the East had a substantial impact on Midlothian’s roads.

“The volume of potholes being tackled was 50 per cent higher than we would normally be filling after the winter period so we put in extra resource in terms of teams but also money – we were spending an extra £15,000 a week to repair the damage as we are aware how dangerous bad potholes can be.

“The amount of compensation paid out to drivers still remains very low compared to other councils. This is due to a robust safety inspection regime and being able to react quickly to repair dangerous potholes when they’re brought to our attention.”