MANY Scottish councils are defying reality by insisting they have repaired every pothole in their areas, despite a growing number of compensation claims from motorists.
An exclusive investigation into the state of Scotland’s crumbling roads found that local authorities have recorded more than 632,000 carriageway craters over the past three years.
Officials also say they have fixed the vast majority of these – around 584,000 – over the same period, at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £28million.
However, while some councils admit there is a major backlog of roadworks, others insist they have no potholes awaiting repair.
Edinburgh, Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Shetland, Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and Western Isles councils all said there were none waiting to be fixed at the end of last year.
Glasgow City Council, which has been slammed for having “the worst roads in Britain”, claimed there was only one unfilled pothole in the city at the end of 2013.
Others reported only a handful of outstanding repairs, including 31 in Falkirk, 36 in Stirling and 40 in Argyll and Bute – which has 1,455 miles of mostly rural roads.
These claims appear even more improbable when compared with councils which do admit there is plenty of work still to do.
Dumfries and Galloway had 9,754 unfilled potholes at the end of 2013, with 5,144 in Fife, 3,050 in Renfrewshire, 1,395 in Inverclyde, 799 in South Ayrshire, 753 in Aberdeenshire and 704 in East Lothian.
The number of potholes reported on council-maintained roads in Scotland has been increasing year on year, reaching more than 226,000 in 2013.
Edinburgh has had the worst roads, with 125,425 potholes over the past three years, followed by Fife (94,454), Aberdenshire (90,873), Glasgow (86,378) and Dumfries and Galloway (69,679).
Last month it emerged that local authorities in Scotland are paying out more than £1,600 a day in compensation to motorists whose cars have been damaged.
Our probe also discovered that some Scottish councils operate Kafka-esque policies on exactly what constitutes a pothole.
For example, Aberdeen City Council states: “Many potholes reported by members of the public are not classed as safety defects and these figures are not recorded.”
Meanwhile, City of Edinburgh Council recorded 6,588 more repairs than it had potholes, thanks to the “pro-active approach” of its road squads.
It also admits that most defects were only subject to a quick “make-safe” rather than a permanent repair, despite recognising that it “may not last as long”.