CLAIMS against Scottish Borders Council for damage to cars due to potholes have more than halved in the past 12 months.

The local authority paid out just £13,000 to settle 54 out of 173 claims in 2017, compared to £22,000 against an unspecified amount of successful cases from 355 claims the previous year.

The figures have caused raised eyebrows by councillors, amid widespread concerns that road erosion and potholes are getting worse, especially after the recent spate of poor weather.

Tweeddale West Councillor Heather Anderson (SNP) told the Peeblesshire News: “I receive many emails about potholes and road lining – and [MSP] Christine Grahame and I spent some time a week ago identifying problem areas.

“I have played a key role in gathering up information about planned repairs and maintenance schemes, specifically on the A701. Over the next month I will be talking to each of the affected community councils about the proposals and asking for their priorities for repairs.

“Roads maintenance is an area where we could be giving local communities a greater say about priorities in their localities.”

Hawick and Denholm member Stuart Marshall (Ind) said: “Whilst these figures appear to be down on the previous year, in my opinion they should not be viewed as an improvement in the condition of our roads. In certain parts of my ward it is in fact quite the opposite.

“I am beginning to wonder if folk are being put off [making a claim] due to what they think will be a lengthy and complicated process.”

Council leader Shona Haslam (Cons) revealed that the authority is exploring new ways to tackle the pothole issue.

The Tweeddale East councillor told us: “We are looking at some new technology that will mean the potholes will be filled with a hot mix rather than a cold mix.

“There is also a really interesting experiment currently happening in Dumfries and Galloway, where they are using a new road surface that is made of recycled plastic. We are watching this closely, and are very keen to see how the surface survives one of our winters.”

SBC said: “As a consequence of dealing with winter weather such as ice, snow, flooding or high winds, resources are prioritised as needed on a day to day basis.

“This impacts on the timings of repairs to damaged roads. While this clearly remains a priority for the roads service, the logistical challenges mean that the teams address road defects based on a number of considerations, including risk presented to the road user and the public and severity of the defect.

“Officers are currently reviewing the treatment of road defects including pothole repairs. A combination of ‘quick fix repairs’ on the most dangerous defects and a longer lasting repair being undertaken ‘first time’ on other road defects is being considered.

“This ‘first time’ semi-permanent repair takes longer to carry out but does provide longer lasting repair.

“The council undertakes frequent inspections of its 3,000km network but defects can appear between inspections. Should the public be aware of dangerous potholes in a road, please report online at or phone 0300 100 1800.”