British Telecom ordered to pay more than £8,000 for dangerous and disruptive roadworks

28 June 2016

Transport for London (TfL) has, once again, successfully prosecuted telecommunications company British Telecom (BT) as part of its commitment to keeping London moving by tackling unnecessary congestion on the Capital's roads.

The BT offences, which took place on the Transport for London Road Network between January and March 2016 were for:

  • Unsafe execution of street works on Brixton Road
  • Failure to serve necessary statutory works notices following the completion of work on Clapham Road
  • Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) originally issued by TfL in response to the Clapham Road offence

BT appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 22 June, and pleaded guilty to both offences. They were fined a total of £4,500 and ordered to pay £3,916 in prosecution costs.

In passing sentence, the Judge said: "There were clear safety failings in the works executed in Brixton Road and I am not impressed. I can see from the photographs taken that pedestrians were forced into the carriageway and work men just stood by and watched. I understand steps are now being taken to put things right but I have to say I don't think looking at these photographs, that even the most basic steps were taken to put proper measures in place to protect the public. I hope lessons are being learnt."

Garrett Emmerson, TfL's Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: "BT has become London's worst roadworks offender, repeatedly disrupting Londoners with poorly planned, badly managed and sometimes dangerous roadworks. We are committed to keeping London's roads as clear as possible preventing unnecessary traffic build up, which disrupts people's daily commute and worsens air quality. We will continue to push for the toughest penalties possible for utility companies caught acting unlawfully and are pleased that BT themselves have recognised the need to improve."

TfL is leading the way among those carrying out roadworks, including utility companies, by planning and coordinating its roadworks outside of peak times, where possible, and with minimum disruption in line with the Lane Rental Scheme requirements.

For more information about the wider work TfL is carrying out to keep London moving, please visit


Notes to editor:

  • TfL has prosecuted BT for 37 previous offences since 2010 and issued more than 800 Fixed Penalty Notices of which 200 were issued within the last year. Since 2010, BT has been fined £32,020 for poorly managed roadworks.
  • The London Permit Scheme, introduced in 2010, enables TfL to monitor and regulate the number of roadworks taking place on its roads at any one time and to ensure that they don't exceed the agreed limit. This limit has since been revised to reduce the maximum number of works by a further 10 per cent. Traffic Police Community Support Officers (TPCSOs) are also used to clamp down on roadworks taking place 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 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
  • The below table sets out the number of times TfL has successfully prosecuted utility companies since 2010:
Company Number of prosecutions Percentage of total prosecutions
British Telecom   37 37.40%
Thames Water  13 13.10%
Infocus  11 11.10%
Virgin Media  10 10.10%
Fulcrum  9 9.10%
UK Power Network  5 5.10% 
National Grid Gas  5 5.10% 
Cable and Wireless  3 3.00%
Vodafone  2 2.00%
Abovenet  2 2.00%
McNicholas (on behalf of Virgin Media)  1 1.00%
O2 1.00%