A PENSIONER has expressed his despair at the red tape involved in claiming compensation for pothole damage to his car.

Retired health and safety expert Michael Kennedy believes two councils' requirement for motorists to sketch and photograph the cavities responsible is dangerous.

The 83-year-old from Rishton accused the highways authorities of using 'shoddy methods to prevent or inhibit people from making claims'.

He has written to the Health and Safety Executive expressing his 'utter disgust' at the the process.

Mr Kennedy 's 2003 Mercedes suffered three broken springs because of potholes in 18 months costing more than £500 to repair.

He decided to claim for the last two incidents both close to the border between the Blackburn with Darwen borough and Lancashire County Council so he asked both highways authorities how to claim.

Mr Kennedy was shocked when both asked for a host of details and documents including photographs, sketches and measurements of the offending potholes.

The county council required him to fill in a seven-page form and the borough demanded copies of his MOT and insurance certificates, service details and 'the exact location of the potholes that caused the damage'.

Mr Kennedy said: "I am in despair and doubt whether I will proceed with my claims.

"There is too much red tape. My chances of remuneration are minimal so I want to concentrate on putting these councils to shame.

"How is it possible to pinpoint a pothole when there are four or five close together in one group?

"The councils are asking motorists to stand in the middle of the road to sketch, measure and photograph potholes out them at risk of being knocked down and injured."

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council highways boss, said: "We are dealing with public money.

"There is a duty on the council not to be negligent with public money as there is duty on it to compensate people where it has been negligent.

"Motorists are not obliged to provide photographs or sketches but the more detailed information they provide, the better their chances of a successful claim."

A Lancashire County Council spokeswoman said: "Our form asks people to provide as much information as they can to support their claim.

"Where a claim is for damage caused by a pothole, it is vital that we are able to identify the location, and many claimants choose to provide photos.

"It is not compulsory to provide this information, and we would not expect anyone to put themselves at risk in order to provide it."