BT has been handed what is thought to be one of the highest fines for bad road repairs that a judge said “could have had fatal consequences”.
The firm was fined £30,000 last month for unsafe road repairs after cables were laid. It followed a prosecution by Surrey County Council’s highways team.
It is believed to be one of the largest ever fines handed out in England and Wales for poor repairs after a road has been dug up. BT previously admitted the offence.
District Judge Teresa Szagun said of the chances of harm, especially for motorbike riders or cyclists: “On the one hand the road conditions and weather over this period, which was dry and mild, makes the likelihood of the risk of this low and thankfully something that did not occur. It remains, however, a risk that could have had fatal consequences.”
Cameron McIntosh, Surrey County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We always try to work in partnership with utility firms to ensure high safety standards and minimise disruption – in the same way that we collaborate closely with contractors repairing roads as part of the extra £20 million we’re investing.
“But in cases like this when repairs are so shoddy that lives are put at risk we’re left with no option but to act on behalf of residents even if it seems that in this case BT was let down by someone employed by a contractor.”
Below is a summary of other key points from District Judge Szagun’s judgement handed down at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 26 March, which can be found here.
- A section of the busy Trig Street, Newdigate, was not resurfaced and gravel was left strewn across the road near a sharp bend.
- Sub contractor Vasmard had laid cables beneath Trig Street on June 14 last year but no cones, barriers or temporary traffic lights were left in place.
- The worker in charge was in his last day of employment with Vasmard and he left the site when supplies ran out without telling anyone.
- The road was repaired the next day by Vasmard, which has since gone into liquidation, after the county council was alerted by residents.
- As well as the £30,000 fine, BT was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,816 plus a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on 6 January to the offence under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.