British motorists and insurers are now spending £1 million a month repairing damage caused by potholes, the AA has said.

The organisation’s insurance arm saw a three-fold increase in claims for pothole damage during the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2017, and it says the average claim costs £1,000.

According to the AA, if these statistics are representative of the market as a whole, the total cost could amount to £4.2 million in a four-month period.

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Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, said the pothole ‘epidemic’ was a ‘national disgrace.

‘In most cases the damage caused by a pothole, such as a ruined tyre or two and perhaps a wheel rim, doesn't justify making an insurance claim, due to the policy excess and the potential loss of your no claims discount. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.

‘Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car or axles, and are occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp posts.

‘This year we're seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as “car severely damaged and undriveable”, which didn't happen at all last year.

‘The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace.’

Councillor Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: ‘Councils are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds and keeping roads safe is one of the most important jobs we do. However, only long-term, consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed.’