MORE than £60,000 has been paid out by Herefordshire Council over the last three years due to potholes on the county’s roads.

Figures show that despite being on the decline, the local authority is still paying thousands of pounds to drivers and cyclists in compensation every year.

The figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request made by the Hereford Times show that the biggest sum was paid out between October 2013 and September 2014, when a total of 791 claims were made against the Herefordshire council, of which 145 were successful, costing the authority £30,047. The highest claim was for £2,449.

Between October 2014 and September 2015, the number of successful claims reduced to 86, costing £23,590.

In the last six months up to June, the council has paid out £7,349 to four drivers.

David Williams, the Institute for Advanced Motorists’ Herefordshire chairman, said that drivers trying to avoid the county’s potholes could cause more accidents.

He said: “Apart from the damage to the vehicles, my main concern is that driver’s eyes are looking for potholes rather than what’s happening up ahead on the road.

“I hear of people who have had their wheels, tyres and suspension damaged because of potholes. There is also a problem of patching the holes, as lorries move the tar aside and you have the same hole there a number of weeks later.

“Some of the roads need longer repairs otherwise you get a merry-go-round of fixing the same holes.”

In 2013, six people needed hospital treatment after competing in a bike race on the county’s roads.

Hereford Wheelers The president of Hereford Wheelers, Chris Hughes, said that the situation has since improved since then.

He added: “The council can’t do much else and they’re doing their best, I just wish they would build some new roads or cycle routes.”

In response to the figures, a Herefordshire council spokesperson said: “We are pleased to see that the number of claims relating to road defects or potholes has reduced considerably since 2013.

“The safety of the public is always our primary concern, and the decrease in claims is testament to the longstanding relationship between Balfour Beatty and Herefordshire Council, and our whole-life approach to improving the quality of roads across the county.”