ALMOST 50,000 drivers made claims against councils across Britain for damage caused to their vehicles by potholes in the last financial year.

The 200 – out of 207 – local highways authorities in England, Scotland and Wales who responded to Freedom of Information requests from the RAC Foundation dealt with 48,664 compensation claims in the 2013/15 financial year.

This is the equivalent of roughly one claim being submitted every 11 minutes.

In Wirral, 74 people made claims against the local authority, but only three were successful.

In fact, councils across Britain refused the majority of claims, agreeing to pay out in less than 23% of cases.

While the total value of successful claims across Britain was £3.2 million, Wirral Council was forced to pay out just £1,147.

Councillor Stuart Whittingham, cabinet member for highways and transportation said the findings were not surprising.

He said: “Wirral has a good track record of extensive preventative maintenance and innovative methods to repair damage to roads, which has already resulted in our standard road condition indicator scores being among the best in the country.

“Our policy approach to managing highways relies on good inspection and maintenance practices, allowing the council to maintain a robust defence against unwarranted claims for damages in the courts.

“Road defects which meet our safety criteria are scheduled for repair as soon as they are brought to our attention.”

Councillor Phil Gilchrist, leader of Wirral’s Liberal Democrats, told the Globe he gets more complaints about potholes and poor road condition than anything else.

He said: “The definition of what a pothole is varies from council to council.

“Whenever I see a hole that I think is a hazard I report it. They spring up next to each other in some roads.

“As soon as one is tackled, another appears. If it gets white paint sprayed round it I check if it’s done in good time.

“As a cyclist I am very aware of the risk to riders of bikes or motorbikes. Whatever happened to Wirral’s captain crater?”

In December, Wirral was awarded £17m of Government funding to repair the borough's pothole-riddled roads.

The award is among 115 across the country to get a share of nearly £6billion over the next six years.