Island Roads reduce compensation burden on public purse

A Freedom of Information request has revealed an almost 80% drop in the amount paid out in compensation claims relating to the condition of our roads.

Island Roads say the information shows our road surfaces have become much safer, leading to less claims, in the five years since they began their PFI Highways contract with Isle of Wight Council (IWC).

In the five years since Island Roads began the PFI contract (April 2013 to date), £87,400 has been paid by Island Roads in compensation claims, although this excludes any legal fees.

In contrast, £422,041.37 was paid by IWC for carriageway defects (including kerbs) that have caused damage to property or injury to persons, including all respective fees and costs in the five years before the PFI contract was undertaken, from April 2008 to March 2013.

A newly resurfaced road – Island Roads

Island Roads noted that as they are not a public body, the decrease in claims means public money has not been spent in dealing with road-related compensation claims – saving the tax payers thousands of pounds.

Island Roads were asked to provide complete figures, containing any legal costs incurred in their compensation claim battles as the council did.

However the private company said it was too large an organisation and had too many different officers working on the claims to accurately calculate this cost.

A spokesman for Island Roads said: “Under the Highways PFI, responsibility for pothole claims was transferred from the IW Council to Island Roads.

“Claims are processed by staff both at Island Roads and within the wider group structure who do not record the amount of time they spend dealing specifically with pothole claims. Therefore, we are not able to calculate the legal costs of this process.

“The data is welcome as it indicates significant improvement is being made to roads on the Island. Of course there remains work to be done and we will continue working hard to upgrade and maintain the Island’s highway network.”