Can I claim for new tyres from the council after mine were damaged by tar and gravel?

Earlier today we were returning from Wembury Point near Plymouth when we encountered a South West Highways road resurfacing crew coming in the opposite direction. It was on a narrow road and all seemed pretty disorganised with no proper traffic control. We were instructed to pull into the roadside while first the tarring machine went by, pouring tar on to the road, followed immediately by one spewing gravel chippings. We were then told (shouted at actually) to move on. I had to drive on the newly tarred section as the road was too narrow to avoid it. This must have lasted a couple of miles. It was very noisy, even after we were back on the normal road, with the chippings rattling about under the car and flying everywhere.

When I got home, which was another four miles or so, the tyres, especially on the driver’s side, were thickly encrusted with tar and gravel. I took the car to a manual car wash with a high-pressure jet, but, as the guy warned me, only about 70 per cent could be removed so the tyres are still covered with tar and bits of gravel. Please can you advise me what I should do? Can I recover the cost of new tyres, if I have to have them replaced?

Asked on 3 August 2013 by HW, Plymouth

Answered by Honest John
This came up before where a reader's tyres became covered with tar slurry, which then picked up the pebbles from his driveway. He needed four new tyres. So yes, if the tyres cannot be properly cleaned, I think you have a case against the council responsible for hiring the contractors. They should have closed the road, but, of course, that would have led to another outcry.
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