18/03/2024 - Permalink

BT ordered to pay £19,000 for roadworks safety offences

Related topics: Corporate / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

BT has been ordered to pay more than £19,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to seven offences relating to the unsafe implementation of traffic management measures, in a prosecution brought by Shropshire Council.

The case was heard at Telford Magistrates Court on Friday 15 March 2024. BT was fined £11,500, and ordered to pay costs of £6,194.19 and a victims surcharge of £2,000 – a total of £19,694.19.

The charges relate to work on Sundorne Road, Shrewsbury on 22 June 2022 carried out by BT’s sub-contractors.

The work in question failed to have appropriate permits and breached safety requirements.

The seven offences to which BT pleaded guilty were:

  • Failure to give notice of work starting.
  • Failure to adequately sign, light and guard part of Sundorne Road.
  • Failure to provide a site information board.
  • Failure to make the site safe when instructed to do so.
  • Failure to notify the council of work being completed in the timescale required.
  • Failure to adequately sign, light and guard part of Sundorne Road.
  • Incorrectly submitting an Immediate-Emergency permit for traffic management measures that were already in place.

In mitigation, BT said that road gang were a ‘maverick crew’ and had been dropped since the offences were committed.

Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said:

“We hope this prosecution serves as a warning to all utility companies, and reassures road users and local people, that we will take action against companies that break the law.

“Shropshire Council is responsible for regulating work taking place on our network of roads, and any avoidable breaches that disrupt the flow of traffic, the safety of the network or the safety of the public are taken extremely seriously, as this prosecution shows.”

Further information

Shropshire Council is the statutory authority with responsibility for highways in Shropshire. Consequently any works undertaken by any utility (or undertaker), or even private party, must request permission to carry out any works which may unsettle or obstruct the highway, and must be permitted by the highway authority.

Works carried out on the public highway are subject to various forms of legislation; in particular, the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) and the Traffic Management Permit Scheme Regulations 2007. Highways authorities and utilities companies are also required to implement and be compliant with a Code of Practice called the Safety at Street Works and Road Works produced by Central Government (called the Red Book). This sets out safe practices in respect of the setting up of road traffic management systems, such as cones, lighting, barriers and pedestrian safe passage systems when road works are undertaken.