Virgin Media and contractor McNicholas fined for unsafe working practices

03/06/2014
Highways Reporters

Virgin Media and contractor McNicholas have been fined for unsafe working practices that caused danger and delays to London’s road users.

On 21 May 2014, Westminster Magistrates’ Court fined Virgin Media and its contractor McNicholas over £6,500 following a guilty plea to three offences on Chertsey Road in the London Borough of Richmond. The seriousness of the offences led the court to issue the maximum possible fines. As well as the maximum fine, Virgin Media and McNicholas were made to pay the legal costs of £5,040, bringing the total to £11,705.

Virgin Media pleaded guilty to two offences committed on Chertsey Road, Twickenham in February 2014. These included carrying out unsafe working practices and breaching permit conditions, namely excavating the entire width of Chertsey Road. Virgin Media’s contractor, McNicholas, also pleaded guilty to a breach of permit conditions.

It is the latest in a series of successful prosecutions by TfL as it works to reduce unnecessary roadworks to improve traffic flow and conditions for all London's road users. Earlier this month, Transport for London (TfL) successfully prosecuted Virgin Media for five offences on Croydon Road in the London Borough of Sutton, including unsafe working practices and permit breaches.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “In a frustrating case of déjà vu, this is the second successful prosecution of Virgin Media in as many months. Utility companies must ensure that any disruption caused by roadworks is minimised and the most stringent safety is upheld. As we have demonstrated time and time again, we will prosecute those who flout this.”

The prosecution of Virgin Media is one of a number of ways TfL is improving conditions for all of London’s road users. As of April 2013, firms undertaking work anywhere in London have to apply for a permit before they can begin digging up the roads thanks to the London Permit Scheme.

London's Lane Rental Scheme, launched by the Mayor of London and TfL on 11 June 2012, reduces road users delays by encouraging utility companies to avoid digging up the busiest roads at peak traffic times. Since then, there has been over a 50% reduction in peak-time utility roadworks at traffic hotspots.
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