Thames Water fined for poor road repairs

10/09/2014
Highways Reporters

Thames Water has been ordered to pay out more than £82,000 in costs and fines after the company admitted it had botched repairs to roads it had dug up to maintain its pipes.

Enfield Council prosecuted the utility company after tests carried out between September 2013 and January 2014 found 15 roads in the borough which had been reinstated following road works were inadequately repaired.

Independent tests commissioned by the council found the company had failed to replace the correct material in the correct thicknesses in the road they had dug up, they also found that the percentage of roads repaired by Thames Water that consequently required repairing had increased from 30 to 42%.

At Tottenham Magistrates Court on 4 September, Thames Water pleaded guilty to 15 breaches of Section 71 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, they were fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,963 for each offence and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge. The total amount they were ordered to pay was £82,065.

Tests were carried out around the borough in Lincoln Road, Alma Road, Anderson Close, Crest Drive, East Duck Lees Lane, Eversley Park Road, Fox Lane, Hertford Road, Middleham Road, Rosewood Drive, Sandhurst Road, Silver Street, Southbury Road, The Chine, Winchmore Hill Road and Bounces Lane.

Enfield Council is believed to be the only local authority in the United Kingdom to prosecute utility companies for core failures, which are invisible to the naked eye but routinely lead to roads needing further repair at tax payers expense.

Enfield Council’s cabinet member for environment and community safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: “It is completely unacceptable for Thames Water to carry out defective repairs on roads they have dug up and then leave the responsibility to put their botch jobs right with Enfield Council.

"They should use accredited operatives and supervisors to ensure roads are properly reinstated to ensure minimal disruption and aggravation to road users and make sure our roads are fit for use.

“We expect very high standards from utility companies when it comes to reinstating our roads, we would prefer to work with them to ensure high standards of work and in the majority of cases there are absolutely no problems with the work carried out.

"When that is not the case we will not hesitate to take firm and decisive action to address poor performance including legal proceedings if necessary.”

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