REVEALED: Hampshire ranked worst in country for road damage claims
Nearly 2,000 compensation claims were made to Hampshire County Council in the last financial year because of vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions.
Our county received the highest amount of complaints in the country with 1,952, ahead of Surrey and Hertfordshire.
More than 30,000 claims were made nationally with an average value of £432.
The RAC Foundation carried out the research based on 204 local authorities.
Director Steve Gooding said: ‘These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.
‘Year in, year out, the backlog of work on local roads is estimated to run to several billion pounds.’
But researchers also found councils only paid out in about a quarter - 27 per cent - of completed cases.
Mr Gooding added: ‘A pitted road surface isn’t just a problem for motorists - for those on two wheels it can be life threatening.
‘Just last week the Chancellor acknowledged that there had been decades of underfunding in the nation’s infrastructure and that he was keen to support targeted, value-for-money public investment.
‘Providing the funds to fix our roads would be a great place to start and would show rapid results.’
Local Government Association transport spokesman Martin Tett warned that spurious claims may result in money being paid out which should be used to repair the roads themselves.
He added: ‘Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements.
‘Long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance is desperately needed to improve road conditions for motorists and cyclists.’
Hampshire County Council member Rob Humby, also executive member for environment and transport, said he was in full support of the RAC’s campaign to improve the national road network.
He added: ‘Despite continued reductions in government grant in recent years, Hampshire County Council has worked really hard to find ways to invest in highways maintenance.
‘In Hampshire, we take an asset management approach to maintaining the roads with £10M of additional investment going into our cost effective and efficient Operation Resilience programme each year, to deliver long term structural repairs and improvements.’
But he questionned whether the data could be comparable between counties, given some claims may be paid out in another financial year from which the claim was made.
He said: ‘I would add that there is no automatic right to compensation and each claim is investigated to determine liability as it’s essential to ensure that council taxpayers’ money is used appropriately.
‘Hampshire is the third largest county in England, with over 5,300 miles of road, much of it rural.
‘In fact, if you look at total claims in relation to the size of the network, it would show that Hampshire’s figure of 37 claims per 100 miles means that Hampshire County Council is certainly not the authority that receives the most claims in England.’