ESSEX County Council has paid out for just 10 pothole claims in the past six months while denying liability in almost 600 others.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request, show the highways authority has refused 659 claims between December last year and the end of May this year, having taken an average of 50 days to make a decision.

There are a further 853 claims yet to be decided, and some of the refusals may be appealed.

In total it has paid out £4,000 for claims it has admitted.

Since 2009 it has paid out almost £3million for about 2,500 claims- with 2009 having the highest pay outs of £1,255,261.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “All compensation claims received by Essex County Council are investigated fully and damages are paid if the Council is liable as the Highways Authority.

“All claims are given the same legal consideration, whether the claim is for minor damage to a vehicle or for personal injury."