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Compensation claims for road and footpath damages rise by 1,000 in a year

There were more than 2,800 claims made in the last financial year as a result of roads or footpaths being in disrepair, a 50 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. Picture by Alan Lewis
Gareth McKeown

THE number of compensation claims resulting from damaged roads and footpaths has increased by almost 1,000 in just 12 months.

Figures released by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard show there were more than 2,800 claims made in the last financial year as a result of roads or footpaths being in disrepair.

The figure, which represents a 50 per cent increase on the previous 12 months, details the number of personal injury and vehicle damage claims received as a result of alleged incidents on defective roads and tpaths.

The 2015/16 figure is the highest to date, surpassing the 2011/12 total of 2,741.

In 2012/13 the number of claims stood at 2,402, slightly more than the following year's figure of 2,341.

It has also been revealed that 4,000 times over the past five years works by utility companies on the roads did not meet the necessary safety standards after completion.

Last year there were 684 'failed reinstatements' according to the Department for Infrastruture, an increase of 50 on the previous year. TransportNI carries out statutory inspections of a random sample of road openings by utilities.

A department spokesman confirmed: "TransportNI follows up each failed reinstatement to ensure the utility company responsible carries out the necessary repairs."

The highest figures were recorded in 2011/2012, when out of more than 50,000 road openings and more than 10,000 inspections 1,021 works were not up to standard. In 2012/13 that number was 759, while the following year the total was 704.

The figures emerged following an Assembly Question from UUP East Belfast MLA Andy Allen who said he was "concerned" by the standard of roads and footpaths, particularly some after works have been completed.

"This is happening too often to be acceptable," he said.

“These figures should highlight to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) that any inability to repair footpaths or roads in disrepair in a timely manner not only has a major financial impact on the department in terms of compensation payouts, but also on the safety of the general public," he added.

Two weeks ago The Irish News reported how spending on road maintenance in the north was £83 million below recommended levels last year while there has been a deficit in the budget in eight of the past 10 years.

According to the DfI the deficit for the current financial year is predicted to be "around £75m".

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