Firms fined for roadworks offences

Two utility firms have received substantial fines following successful prosecutions by Somerset County Council.

BT and Royal Mail both pleaded guilty at Taunton Magistrates last week (Wednesday 9 October) to several offences relating to roadworks.

Somerset County Council is responsible for managing the road network and prosecuted the two firms as part of its commitment to minimising disruption and keeping the public safe.

The three cases involving BT were:

Hartrow Cross, Bishops Lydeard

  • BT installed two telegraph poles without a valid street works notice in breach of S.54 NRSWA. Fined £1,600.
  • Failing to co-operate with the highways authority during April 2019 in breach of S.60 NRSWA. Fined £7,500.
  • These offences meant the County Council was unable to co-ordinate the works or attempt to minimise any impact on the road network.

Oake Road, Bradford on Tone

  • BT installed temporary traffic signals which did not comply with safety legislation in breach of S.65 NRSWA. This posed a safety risk to both the travelling public and the site operatives. Fined £10,500.

Silver Street, Curry Mallet

  • BT closed the road without notice, despite knowing that a road closure was required seven days before. They also failed to co-operate with Somerset County Council, meaning the highways authority could not co-ordinate the works or attempt to minimise disruption. Fined £2,500.

In addition to the fines, a victim surcharge of £170 was applied to all three cases and total costs of £3,352.50 were awarded.

The two cases involving Royal Mail were:

Gulway Mead, Tatworth

  • Royal Mail incorrectly installed traffic management in breach of the safety code of practice under S.65 NRSWA. Fined £4,000.
  • Failure to use its best endeavours to co-operate with the highways authority due to incorrect noticing of street works in breach of S.60 NRSWA. Fined £4,000.
  • These offences posed a safety risk to both the travelling public and the site operatives and also meant the County Council was unable to co-ordinate the works or attempt to minimise any impact on the road network.

Holloway Road, Lopen

  • Royal Mail incorrectly installed traffic management in breach of safety provisions under S.65 NRSWA. Fined £4,000.
  • Failure to comply with a direction by SCC highways authority on safety measures, in breach of S.65 NRSWA. Fined £6,000.
  • Failure to use its best endeavours to co-operate with the highways authority in breach of S.60 NRSWA. Fined £4,000.
  • These offences posed a safety risk to both the travelling public and the site operatives and also meant the County Council was unable to co-ordinate the works or attempt to minimise any impact on the road network.

In addition to the fines, a victim surcharge of £170 was applied to both cases and total costs of £2,509.17 were awarded.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We owe it to our residents and road users to take action when it is justified. These offences will have caused unnecessary disruption to the public or put safety at risk. This is not acceptable and we hope these prosecutions will send a clear message to other parties who work on the highway.”

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.