Almost 600 claims by road users

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Almost 600 road users in the Lisburn council area have submitted claims to the Department for Infrastructure for damage to their vehicles, according to a local councillor.

Figures revealed to Councillor Scott Carson reveal that 583 claims were made in the 2017/18 financial year for damage caused to vehicles on roads in Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Councillor Carson told the Ulster Star that the figures had been released to him following a written question to Transport NI before he met officials on Tuesday evening.

They revealed that currently 408 claims remain under considerations.

Councillor Carson said: “The number of vehicle claims for the last financial year is a very alarming statistic for the Lisburn Castlereagh area and one that reflects the ongoing road maintenance issues.

“Officials advise that this figure is likely to rise given the severity of the winter weather.

“I have spoken to a number of residents over recent months who have had vehicles damaged as a result of the deteriorating condition of the road network as a result of periods of adverse weather.

“While vehicular damage is hugely inconvenient and costly, the potential injury risks associated are also concerning.

“I am aware there are cyclists and motorcyclists who no longer choose to travel along certain roads for fear of serious damage and injury.

While the Department cite budgetary concerns as the main factor limiting maintenance to the road network, the additional expenditure incurred by claims for damage to vehicles magnifies this.

“The Divisional Roads Manager recently advised that the figure paid out for claims across Northern Ireland sat at a staggering £5 million and is expected to rise this year. I will be continuing to press for additional spend on the upgrading of roads to prevent serious damage or injury occurring.”