Virgin Media fined for unsafe working practices in London
08/05/2014 Highways Reporters
Transport for London (TfL) has successfully prosecuted Virgin Media for unsafe working practices that caused danger to the capital’s road users.
On 30 April 2014, Westminster Magistrate's Court fined Virgin Media £5,000 following a guilty plea to five separate offences on Croydon Road. The gravity of the offences led the court to require Virgin Media to pay the maximum victim surcharge of £420 and TfL’s full legal costs.
The company pleaded guilty to five offences committed on Croydon Road in the London Borough of Sutton in October 2013. These included carrying out unsafe working practices, breaching two separate permit conditions, and two instances of failing to serve the necessary statutory notices.
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.
Leon Daniels, managing director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We expect that utility companies ensure that any disruption caused by roadworks is minimised and the most stringent safety is upheld. Since the introduction of our London Permit Scheme in 2010 we have seen these delays reduce by over 50%.
“We are pleased that the court has agreed that the unnecessary delays caused by utility companies’ slapdash behaviour are thoroughly intolerable. We are completely focused on cutting delays, and as such, will be continuing to prosecute persistent offenders who show wanton disregard for Londoners, as we have Virgin Media.”
During the sentencing, District Judge Goldspring cited the potential serious consequences of works without proper guarding near a primary school.
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, all London boroughs have introduced the London Permit Scheme. As a result firms undertaking work anywhere in London have to apply for a permit before they can begin digging up the roads. London's Lane Rental Scheme, launched by the Mayor of London and TfL on 11 June 2012, is designed to reduce road users delays by encouraging utility companies to avoid digging up the busiest roads at peak traffic times.
Following the introduction of the scheme, more than 88% of utility roadworks at traffic hotspots have avoided incurring a Lane Rental charge in Lane Rental locations. Before the scheme was introduced, only around 30% of utility roadworks at traffic hotspots avoided peak traffic times.