Burnley MP slams £1m. waste of county compensation payouts

Pothole repair
Pothole repair
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More than £1m. has been paid out in compensation by Lancashire County Council over the past year as a result of people falling and injuring themselves on the country’s pavements.

The figure was revealed after Burnley MP Julie Cooper made a Freedom of Information request to County Hall, where council chiefs also revealed that compensation for vehicle damage amounted to £118,000 over the same period.

The total amount paid out in personal injury claims came to £1.06m. and £118,571 for damage caused to vehicles on the county’s roads.

Mrs Cooper said: “These shocking statistics tell us the true story behind the appalling state of the roads in Burnley and Padiham and across Lancashire.

“A Tory led county council which because of its failure to carry out adequate routine road maintenance, is now facing up to the financial consequences and paying out huge sums of taxpayers’ money for personal injury and vehicular damage claims to the residents and road users.

“Anyone driving around Burnley and Padiham will still be able to see potholes awaiting repair, so clearly the payouts are not finished yet.”

County Coun. Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The amount of compensation paid out for legal claims relating to the condition of our roads fluctuates from year to year but has generally reduced quite significantly from around 10 years ago.

“The amount paid out in 2017/18 was less than in either of the previous two years.

“We have a rigorous inspection and repair regime in place, allowing us to prove to the courts that we do all we reasonably can to keep the roads and pavements in a safe condition and prevent trips and slips and damage to vehicles.

“We recently revised our highways inspection policy to prioritise repairs on our busiest roads and ensure that the most serious problems are fixed the quickest.

“We have put more money into the budget to repair potholes over the next year in recognition of the damage caused to our roads by a colder and wetter than average winter.

“This means we are now planning to spend around £26m. to maintain Lancashire’s road surfaces over the coming year, with over £13m. of this set aside to fix potholes, and carry out patching and minor surfacing repairs to prevent potholes re-occurring.”