BT Fined £30,000 For ‘Shoddy’ Unsafe Road Repair Work That Put Lives At Risk In Newdigate, Surrey
BT has been fined £30,000 for unsafe road repairs in Trig St, Newdigate, Surrey that could have had “fatal consequences”.
Cables were laid in a section of the road that were “so shoddy” that lives were put at risk, according to Surrey County Council.
The road was not resurfaced and gravel was left strewn across the road near a sharp bend, according to the judgement at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on March 26.
Sub-contractors had laid cables beneath the country lane on June 14, 2018. No cones, barriers or temporary traffic lights were left in place and the worker in charge was in his last day of employment. He left the site when supplies ran out without telling anyone, and no checks on the work were carried out by BT supervisors or their contractors the court was told.
The road was subsequently repaired properly after the county council was alerted by local residents. The BT contractor responsible ‘Vasmard Ltd’, has since gone into liquidation.
The Court was told that the road was left in a condition that could have had fatal consequences.
Key points from the District Judge’s judgement:
- A section of the busy Trig Street, Newdigate, was not resurfaced and gravel was left strewn across the road near a sharp bend.
- The sub-contractor had laid cables beneath the road 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 and he left the site when supplies ran out without telling anyone.
- The road was repaired following complaints by residents to the Council.
- The contractor has since gone into liquidation.
A Surrey County Council spokesperson said “We try to work in partnership with companies, but in this case BT’s contractor’s repairs were so shoddy and dangerous that lives were put at risk we were left with no option but to act on behalf of residents.”
An Openreach spokesman said: “The safety of the public is our number one priority whenever we are carrying out work of this nature and it is very clear that, on this occasion, the repairs carried out were not up to our normally high standards. Thankfully no harm was caused and the road was returned to a safe and acceptable standard as soon as possible. We have since parted company with the contractor that carried out this work on our behalf and have put in place a raft of new preventative measures including further training for our supervisors to prevent this from happening again.”
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 January 6 to the offence under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
It is believed to be one of the largest fines handed out in England and Wales for poor repairs after a road has been dug up.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer