Cash-strapped council hit by car repairs bill

County Hall, Preston
County Hall, Preston
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Figures released by Lancashire County Council under the Freedom of Information Act show more than 520 incidents requireing repairs to council vehicles over the past decade.

An estimated £300,000-plus has been shelled out by the authority in that time on repairs to vans, cars, tippers, roller machines, chippers and other vehicles.

Among the incidents recorded are:

£130 on repairs after fuel was stolen out of a van’s tank in Lancaster

£397 after a spreader machine was run off the road and got stuck down a ditch

£14,057 after a roller machine slid down banking in Midgery Lane, Fulwood

£1,985 to replace two catalytic converters which were stolen from Iveco tippers by metal theives

£6,117 to repair an ambulance which ran into a bus at Goosnargh

£615 to repair a windscreen which was smashed by vandals at Farmer Parr’s, Fleetwood

The information was released after a Freedom of Information Act request to County Hall from a member of the public.

Theft of catalytic converters has previously been reported as an issue in Lancashire as a result of a rise in the price for scrap metal.

But County Hall bosses say that maintenance costs are an inevitability, given that the council often operates in “challenging conditions”.

John Carr, Head of Fleet Services at Lancashire County Council, said: “We run a fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles, from transit vans and passenger transport vehicles to tippers and gritters.

“We are delivering services across a large geographical area, often in challenging conditions.

“This makes it likely that some vehicles will be damaged and will need to be repaired.

“We do all we can to reduce the need for repairs by ensuring that our drivers are fully trained and hold the relevant licences and our vehicles are regularly maintained.”