NORTH-EAST councils would have to fork out £92m to fill in a backlog of potholes, £22m more than was needed in 2009, a new survey has found.

And last year (2012) the 10 authorities across the region paid out £1m in compensation to motorists whose cars had been damaged by potholes.

Ten authorities in Yorkshire and Humberside paid out £3.3m in compensation and would have to pay £93m to fill in their potholes according to the figures released by consumer watchdog Which? today (January 14).

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The figures have been released as wintery weather hits the region which is expected to cause even more damage to existing cracks in the road surfaces.

The Government commissioned a Potholes Review in 2011 and allocated an extra £200m for local highway authorities, citing a significant increase in the number of potholes on the already fragile local highway network.

Which? found that the average backlog of road repairs per local authority in England is getting bigger, growing nationally from £53.2m in 2009 to £61.3m last year.

In the North-East the repairs would cost even more with £92m needed compared to £70m in 2009.

In Yorkshire and Humberside the amount needed to fill in the backlog has grown by £14m. Local authorities have estimated that it would cost £12.93b to clear the entire road maintenance backlog in the UK.

“Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Potholes are a menace for all road users. “With temperatures plummeting this week and the bitter weather conditions set to continue, the backlog of repairs could grow again.

“Drivers should help themselves and everyone else on the road by pointing out potholes to the local council.”

The watchdog said the chance of claims being successful depended on whether the local authority was aware of the pothole in the first place and had not repaired it or if it had not followed road maintenance guidelines.

Potholes can be reported via a council’s website.

The Directgov website lists which council is responsible for specific roads.

How to make a claim:

Photographs: Take a photo of both the pothole and damage caused to the car.

Responsibility: Know who is responsible for the road where the damage occurred. If it is a motorway or A-road then the claim will need to be submitted to the relevant highway’s authority, on private roads the road owner is responsible.

Costs: While you may be able to claim for damage to the car, you may not be compensated for any inconvenience caused or extra travel costs incurred during repairs. If your claim is rejected the matter could be pursued in the small claims court but it is advisable to seek legal advice first.