13 September 2016
North West Road Improvements – a Postcode Lottery
This time last year the sink hole of the Mancunian Way sparked a debate about whether you can pursue a pothole compensation claim against the council if you are injured or your vehicle is damaged by a road defect.
A new study by the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that slow progress has been made to fix Greater Manchester roads, which continues to be a postcode lottery as to the levels of investment by each council.
The research revealed there were around 20,000 complaints from the public about potholes and damaged roads across the Greater Manchester area in 2014/15. All but three local authorities in Greater Manchester received fewer legal claims in this time compared to the previous year. Five councils received a higher number of complaints.
Simon Edmondson, FSB regional chair for Greater Manchester, said: “Our members rely heavily on the local road networks to do business, with employees, customers and trade deliveries relying on fast and efficient networks. Poorly maintained roads impede that.
“While this research shows councils are, on the whole, making some headway in maintaining our region’s road network to an acceptable standard, there’s still room for improvement."
A recent report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) estimates the bill for pothole repairs in the UK at £11.8 billion. Last year the Government announced a £250 million pothole fund to fix over four million potholes by 2020/21. However, this is nowhere near enough as it is estimated that on average each council needs £69m. The AIA estimates that it will take 14 years to clear the backlog of pothole repairs. There is one defect for every 110m of road.
Councils have a legal duty to maintain the roads they look after, but now more than ever, they face problems finding the money to do so. That said, they have to make sure they regularly inspect roads and repair any defects to keep road users, be they drivers, cyclists or pedestrians safe. If you’ve been seriously injured because of a road defect, you should get legal advice on whether the local authority has done enough to meet its legal obligations.
As well as damage to vehicles, potholes and road defects pose a great risk to cyclists. See our tips for how cyclists may protect themselves from pothole accidents here.
On Friday, 29 July, along with Cycling UK, Slater and Gordon joined in the ‘Cycle Matters’ road safety campaign promoting awareness of the dangers of potholes to cyclists on UK roads. Read our blog here.
Michael Hardacre is a senior personal injury lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people who have suffered injuries and road traffic accidents due to potholes and road defects.
If you were injured in public in an accident that wasn’t your fault, whether as a cyclist, motorist or pedestrian, call our personal injury lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you. Your claim will be assessed on a no win, no fee basis.