National Grid Gas fined £10,000 for unsafe roadworks
Transport for London (TfL) has successfully prosecuted National Grid Gas in connection with roadwork offences committed in central London last year
The work, which took place between 26 and 29 July 2014, was carried out by the utility company on Grosvenor Road, a core part of the TfL Road Network through central London and part of Barclays Cycle Superhighway 8. During the work TfL's Road Works Enforcement Inspectors noticed that the contractors carrying out the repairs had failed to set up the worksite in accordance with the relevant Safety Code of Practice.
This led to pedestrians being forced onto the carriageway, including some in wheelchairs, placing their safety at risk. The work was deemed unsafe by both TfL and the Metropolitan Police and, despite repeated requests, the company failed to make amends for several hours.
Westminster Magistrates Court therefore fined National Grid Gas £3,000 for each offence (the maximum possible fine after statutory discount for early plea), a victim surcharge of £120 and ordered them to pay TfL's full prosecution costs of £3,946. This brought the total fine up to more than £10,000. In passing sentence, the Judge said `These are quite serious offences involving safety breaches with significant risk to the public.'
Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `Because of their actions, drivers, local residents and I were left fuming at the sheer incompetence of National Grid Gas during this work. Ensuring that any roadworks are carried out in a safe manner is vital, especially in a major city such as London. We will continue to prosecute those who try their luck carrying out unsafe working practices on our roads and work to ensure that all Londoners can travel through the capital safely and without delay or hindrance.'
The prosecution of National Grid Gas is one of a number of ways TfL is improving conditions for all of London's road users. Since April 2013, firms undertaking work anywhere in London have had to apply for a permit before they can begin digging up the roads as part of the London Permit Scheme.
London's Lane Rental Scheme, launched by the Mayor of London and TfL on 11 June 2012, reduces road delays by encouraging utility companies to avoid digging up the busiest roads at peak traffic times. Since then, there has been a more than 50% reduction in peak-time utility roadworks at traffic hotspots.
TfL is leading the way amongst those carrying out roadworks in London, including utility companies, by scheduling around 99% of its work at Lane rental locations outside of peak traffic times.
In 2012, TfL prosecuted National Grid Gas for similar offences, and since that time TfL has issued the company with more than 250 Fixed Penalty Notices for various other streetworks related offences committed across London on the TfL Road Network.
For more information about the wider work TfL is carrying out to keep London moving, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/roads
- The London Permit Scheme also enables TfL to monitor the number of roadworks taking place on its roads at any one time and ensure that they don't exceed the agreed limit. In 2010, the cap was put in place to reduce the maximum number of works taking place by 20%; the limit has since been further revised to reduce the maximum number of works by a further 10%. Traffic Police Community Support Officers (TPCSOs) are also used to clamp down on roadworks that are outside of their permit
- Londoners can report disruptive or badly managed roadworks, as well as road defects such as potholes and damaged footpaths, by visiting https://reportit.tfl.gov.uk. Any enquiries received will be sent directly to the relevant Highway Authority (TfL or a London borough) responsible, ensuring that direct and fast action can be taken
- Since the beginning of the London Permit Scheme, TfL has issued Virgin Media a total of 323 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for various streetworks offences.
- In October 2013, Transport for London successfully prosecuted Thames Water for causing unnecessary disruption. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2013/november/thames-water-fined-for-causing-unnecessary-disruption-to-london-road-users
- In April 2014, Transport for London successfully prosecuted Virgin Media for unsafe working practices https://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2014/may/virgin-media-fined-for-unsafe-working-practices-causing-danger-to-london-s-road-users