MORE than £63 million was spent repairing and maintaining roads across Essex last year, it has been revealed.

Essex County Council also received 16,900 complaints about damaged road surfaces or potholes during 2018/19 - equivalent to more than 40 complaints a day.

There were 1,043 claims made for vehicle damage as the result of potholes or road defects, however just 52 were successful.

County Hall had to pay out £15,829 to those claimants.

The figures were revealed as part of a Freedom of Information request made by the Federation of Small Businesses.

The federation is calling for more funding for local authorities from central Government to support regular maintenance and to help alleviate the pothole problem.

Alan Jefcoate, from the Essex federation said: “Potholes are a major concern for small businesses in this region.

“Our members rely heavily on the local road network, with their staff, customers and trade deliveries dependent on fast and efficient road networks.

“Poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper their ability to do business but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms often working without large capital reserves.

“These figures show just how widespread the issue is and it’s clear that decision-makers need to sit up and take notice.

“Measures like more funding for local authorities will go some way in helping ease the burden of this ever-growing issue.

“We are calling on central Government to consider the prevention of potholes and the impact they cause to our businesses and focus less on handing out bundles of cash to stem the symptoms resulting from a lack of overall investment.”

Last year County Hall was given £11 million of a national “pothole pot” to repair battered roads across the county.

The federation also wants to see the Government ensuring there is a simple system for both reporting potholes, as well as for submitting claims for damage to vehicles.

In the East of England £132,954,561 was spent on repairing roads last year.

There were 4,060 claims with £209,863 paid out in the 736 claims which were successful.

Kevin Bentley, the council's infrastructure boss, said: “We are absolutely aware of just how vital a properly maintained road network is, not just for businesses of all sizes, but for local residents and visitors to our county. We are confident that we have a road network that is fit for purpose.

“I would like to reassure the Federation of Small Businesses and Essex residents that our roads are officially in the top quarter of councils for road condition, which is because we have been able to find extra investment to repair and improve them which many other councils have not.

“We invested an additional £2.4 million during the last financial year into a new scheme to repair potholes identified by Essex County Councillors, which saw an additional 6,000 potholes fixed on local roads – more than 18,000 in total for the 18/19 financial year.

“We are also committed to preventing potholes from occurring in the first place and the condition of our main roads.

"The faster A-roads and major town-centre through routes are very good, with fewer potholes. We are now placing more emphasis than ever on local roads – both estate roads where people live and business parks and industrial estates that most businesses use every day.

“We continue to monitor the network to ensure that potholes can be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. I would encourage anyone who has a pothole in their area to continue to report it to us online at”