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Utility firms land £94,000 in fines after road works failings

24 August 2020

Six utility companies, including BT and Network Rail, have been fined for failing to comply with Scottish road works legislation.

The penalties were issued after the Scottish National Coring Programme found the firms had failed to comply with statutory legislation for placing cables and pipes. 

Utility firms are obliged to ensure the correct materials, layer depths and compaction are used.

After considering mitigating factors, the Scottish Road Works Commissioner issued BT with the maximum £50,000 fine, while Virgin Media received a £34,000 penalty.

Last Mile Asset Management and ES Pipelines were issued with a £3,000 fine each and Network Rail and GTC each received a £2,000 fine.

Angus Carmichael, Scottish Road Works Commissioner, explained that failed reinstatements reduce the serviceable life of the road, leading to further road works to replace the failed sections, additional costs to roads authorities and unnecessary disruption and inconvenience to road users.

He said: “I am extremely disappointed with the poor performance of a number of utility companies, specifically where their performance has declined since the previous National Coring Programme and/or they have previously received a penalty for a similar breach of the legislation. In particular, large companies operating in the telecommunications sector, specifically Virgin Media and BTplc.”

BTplc has been penalised on three previous occasions since 2012 for similar failings, according to the commissioner.

“All organisations penalised have provided assurances that processes are being modified to demonstrate early improvement. My office will continue to scrutinise their performance closely,” said Carmichael.

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