Utility firms fined £50,000 for botched city road repairs

UTILITY firms have been fined more than £50,000 for poor repair jobs on roads by the roadworks commissioner.

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Six firms were handed penalties ranging from £1500 to £30,000 for failing to meet standards for repairs when they open up roads to lay pip es and cables across the country.

The Scottish Roadworks Commissioner said the results were "just not good enough".

Figures for Glasgow show only Scottish Water met the 90% target, scoring 91% and the 10 other firms ranged from a 20% pass to 79%.

BT only passed 40% of jobs sampled Scottish Power, 54% and SSE 60%.

Virgin media passed 78% Scottish Gas 79% and Cable and Wireless 71%. Instalcom, which works as a contractor for utility firms, scored just 20% and

Fulcrum which also lays pipes and cables passed just 40%.

The samples inspected range from five for the smaller firms and contractors to 76 for Scottish Water.

The biggest fine, of £30,000, was issued to BT openreach for failing to hit the target of 90% meeting the acceptable standard. Scottish Power Energy Networks was fined £20,000 and Vodafone £3000. ES Pipelines, Energetic and Fulcrum were each fined £1500.

The latest national study showed only two companies, SSE and Scottish Water, hit the target scoring 94% and 92% respectively.Elspeth King, Scottish Roadworks Commissioner, said there had been improvements on the previous study, but still standards had to improve.

She said: "Although I am pleased to see that the overall pass rate has increased to 83% from 74% previously, this is just not good enough.

"There is a legal duty to meet the required standard for materials and workmanship when carrying out excavations and I expect all utility companies to endeavour to achieve as close to 100% compliance as possible.

"This will entail a significant increase in levels of super-

vision and quality control."

Previously Ms King had called for big improvements or she would be issuing fines. She has the power to issue fines of up to £50,000 on the worst offenders. She added: "I am disappointed the results do not show the step change in performance that has been required.

"These failed re-instatements will have a detrimental effect on the serviceable life of the road, leading to further roadworks to replace the failed sections and the potential for disruption and inconvenience to road users."

All the firms who were fined have assured the commissioner that they have introduced procedures to improve future compliance rates.

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