Utility firm fined for unauthorised roadworks

A utility firm has been fined £3,000 after pleading guilty to three offences relating to unauthorised roadworks.

Somerset County Council is responsible for managing the road network and prosecuted Bristol Water as part of its commitment to minimising disruption to the travelling public.

The Council does its best to plan ahead and avoid overlapping or clashing works and unauthorised works and road closures make this difficult job even harder.

The charges relate to the Highways Act and New Roads and Street Works (NRSWA) Act and involved three separate incidents:

  • An illegal road closure of St John’s Street in Wells on 13 June 2016.
  • Occupying the highway on South Road, Brean, Burnham-on-Sea, when directed not to due to high holiday traffic flow on 21 June 2017.
  • Carrying out works without the correct permissions on Turnpike Road, Axbridge, on 3 July 2017.

Bristol Water were sentenced at Taunton Magistrates on Friday 8 December after earlier pleading guilty to the three charges. They were fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,130 in costs and a £150 victim surcharge. The fines take into account the early guilty plea.

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This prosecution sends a very clear message to anyone who works on the highway that we will not tolerate unauthorised roadworks.

“We receive around 85 requests for roadworks every single day and consider many factors when approving and co-ordinating these.

“Here we have three sets of roadworks which were not approved and caused avoidable disruption to the travelling public.

“This is not acceptable and I’m pleased we have been able to take immediate action.”

Details of approved roadworks can be found on our searchable map at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/roadworks. If anyone is concerned about roadworks they can flag this up to the team by contacting @TravelSomerset on Twitter.