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Sun May 09 2021

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BT fined yet again for streetworks failings

10 Oct 17 Telecoms giant BT has been fined £25,000 for failing to properly sign and guard roadworks.

Transport for London (TfL) prosecuted BT for what it described as serious lapses in safety that put the public at significant risk.

BT is a serial offender. Since 2010, TfL has prosecuted BT 41 times and issued it 991 fixed penalty notices for streetworks offences. Over that time, BT has been fined a total of £67,270 for various streetworks offences.

The latest prosecution follows unsafe work carried out on Streatham Hill at the junction of Leigham Court Road on 1st March 2017. BT failed to properly sign and guard the working area, enabling pedestrians to walk dangerously close to heavy plant and machinery.

At Westminster Magistrates Court last week BT pleaded guilty to breaches of the New Road & Street Works Act 1991 and was fined £25,000 – which is the highest fine yet imposed in London for streetworks safety breaches. It was also ordered to pay a further £2,764 in costs.

"It is clear that BT simply failed to comply with safety regulations and these failings could have caused serious harm to other road users,” the magistrates said. “The aggravating feature in this matter in my view is the failure to properly close off the pedestrian crossing close to the work site, which resulted in pedestrians walking freely around heavy machinery. The regulations are there for a reason and must be complied with."

Glynn Barton, TfL's director of road space management, said: "Keeping the public and construction staff safe when undertaking roadworks should be the top priority for any organisation. I am concerned we have had to prosecute BT for the second time within a year for breaches which put public safety at considerable risk. It is vital companies such as BT ensure safety on site and we will always push for the strongest possible action against those companies who put the public at risk."

London utility streetworks failures

The table below sets out the number of times TfL has prosecuted utility companies since 2010

Company  Number of prosecutions  Percentage of total prosecutions 
 BT Openreach 41 35%
 Thames Water 13 11%
 Infocus 11 10%
 Virgin Media 10 9%
 Fulcrum 9 8%
 UK Power Networks/London Power Networks 9 8%
 Vodafone 9 8%
 Cadent Gas 5 4%
 Cable & Wireless 3 2%
 Abovenet 2 2%
 McNicholas (on behalf of Virgin Media) 1 1%
 O2 1 1%
 Southern Electric 1 1%
 TOTAL 115


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