The number of claims against Midlothian Council for damage caused by potholes has risen steadily in the past five years.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives show that in 2014/15 there were 42 claims filed against the council, with £1,090 paid out. In 2016/17 the council received 80 claims and paid out £25,935. While in 2018/19, the last full financial year, there were 187 claims, costing the council £35,487.
The figures also show that the number of reported/ identified potholes in the county has risen dramatically over the past decade, up from 977 in 2008 to 1464 in 2018/19.
Speaking about the figures, Lothian List MSP, Miles Briggs, (Con)said: “Roads across Midlothian are in a state of disrepair and are a serious safety hazard to motorists and cyclists. Potholes can cause substantial damage to vehicles and the council are having to pay out a significant amount of money to motorists, for damage that could have been prevented.
“Midlothian Council spend thousands of pounds every month on fixing potholes, however proper investment is needed to improve roads rather than just patching them up.
“That is why the Scottish Conservatives have pledged £100 million for a Pothole Action Fund, invested over the course of the next parliament, to properly invest in well maintained roads, as part of the ‘Save Our Roads’ campaign.”
Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for roads, Cllr John Hackett (Lab) said: “Like all local authorities across Scotland, we’re facing huge challenges in maintaining our roads. We estimate it would cost in excess of £27 million to repair our network and given our entire budget for routine repairs and maintenance is £1.15m, you can begin to see the scale of the issue.
“So while we have a robust system in place to inspect, prioritise and repair potholes with emergency pothole repairs carried out within 24 hours, what would really help is a commitment nationally to invest more money in roads.”