MOTORISTS claiming for damage caused by pot-holes has more than tripled in the last year.

Flintshire Council was inundated with claims between January and August after the most severe winter for 25 years left the county’s roads in a sorry state.

And, with this winter expected to be even worse, claims against the authority could escalate again.

There are 34 ongoing claims against the county’s insurers compared to just nine in the same period last year.

Cllr Tony Sharps, deputy leader of Flintshire Council and executive member for Environment, said the claims were being robustly defended.

He said: “Last winter’s severe frosts left the county’s roads in a sorry state with a huge number of pot-holes. I am proud to say that the amount of pot-holes in Flintshire has fallen from 1,800 to under 400 in the last few weeks, demonstrating Flintshire's commitment to road safety.

“I am grateful for the co-operation of the workforce for their hard work and to local councillors who have been vigilant in reporting these dangerous pot-holes.”

In January the UK was hit by a cold snap and the county’s roads were hit by the freezing temperatures resulting in cracks in road surfaces caused by ice.

Duncan McClure Fisher, from motorists advice website said drivers have realised they do not have to put up with pot-holes anymore.

He said: “The last winter was an exceptionally cold one and we saw a huge number of people all across the country reporting pot-holes and telling us how they’d damaged their cars on them.

“If you report a pothole councils are under obligation to investigate. If you can prove that the council hasn’t inspected your piece of road as regularly as they should, or that they haven't inspected it in a responsible manner, then you could have a successful case."

A spokesman for the council said: “The number of claims for compensation by motorists whose cars have been damaged by pot-holes on Flintshire roads between January and August 2010 is 34.

“The number of claims for compensation by motorists whose cars have been damaged by pot-holes on Flintshire roads between January and August 2009 is nine.

“Flintshire Council has paid out £143 in compensation since January 2010. The cost for the financial year 2010/11 is nil and the claims cost for the financial year 2009/10 was £620.”

- LAST winter’s weather left the UK’s roads in a poor state of repair with an extra £100 million been allocated to help local authorities to tackle the issue.

A survey by Autoglass found on an average journey motorists encounter 13 pot-holes.

Matthew Mycock, the firm’s managing director said: “The aftermath of the worst winter in 25 years has resulted in the number of pot-holes on our roads increasing by 40 per cent since last year, which has contributed to the 25 per cent increase in calls we have experienced from motorists needing windscreen repairs.”

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