The number of payouts Trafford Council has made for damage and injuries caused by unrepaired roads and footpaths has gone up.

The authority resolved 576 highways related claims in the financial year 2018-19, but 429 new ones were received – an increase of 147 new cases from the year before.

The council received 342 new claims for damaged property as a result of highways related incidents and 87 claims for alleged injuries caused by highways related incidents.

In 2018-19, the council paid out funds for 125 successful insurance claims as a result of its failures to repair or inspect roads and footpaths across the borough – up from just 29 payouts the year before.

A total of 94 of those successful claims were for the council’s failure to repair its roads; up from just 12 in 2017-18.

In an accounts and audit committee meeting earlier this week, a senior council officer partially blamed a “bad winter” in 2018 for the rise in payouts.

Official council documents from the meeting stated: “The reasons for this are varied but mainly relate to an increase in defects and claims following the bad winter in 2018; this had an adverse impact on the condition of the highway and put pressure on achieving the repair timescales.

“This is despite significant levels of investment in the highway network in recent years and work continues to ensure the focus of this investment has the biggest impact.”

After these claims were settled, the council’s pot of money set aside to pay out for successful highways related insurance claims now stands at £699,000.

A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “As was discussed at the committee meeting,  damage to the roads caused by the winter of 2018 would almost certainly have contributed towards an increase in claims. However, there are also other contributory factors including an increase in rainfall last year and the fact more drivers may have been inclined to make a claim compared to the year before.
 “It is also important to note that the repudiation rates for liability claims against the Council is 73 per cent, meaning we are currently defending three out of every four claims received. We will be meeting with our claims team later this month to establish if there is anything further we can do to prevent any further increases.”