Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL) has been ordered to pay fines totalling more than £85,000 for carrying out sub-standard road repairs around Enfield.
Enfield Council decided to take action against TWUL following a huge amount of disruption to residents and road-users at Slades Hill, EN2 between 28 December 2017 and 4 January 2018 while a burst water main was being repaired.
Following the completion of the works, the reinstatement of the road survived only for a matter of hours before starting to collapse. The deterioration of the road forced cars to swerve dangerously to avoid the damaged surface. Meanwhile, the Council had to deal with a large number of complaints about the roadworks, putting added pressure on the customer services team.
At Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 11 January 2019, District Judge Julia Newton found Thames Water guilty of sections 71(1) and 71(2) of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 by failing in the prescribed standards of materials and workmanship and for breaching the requirements of the statutory Reinstatement Code.
TWUL was ordered by the court to pay a total of £85,170 in fines. Of this £30,000 related specifically to Slades Hill*. The utility company was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and costs to the Council of £10,000.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Guney Dogan, said: “We expect any company that is carrying out repairs and road works to do so efficiently, safely, to the required technical standards and in accordance with the law. In addition, the Council has a statutory duty to minimise traffic congestion where possible. We will proactively use enforcement measures where poor work standards by contractors working on behalf of private utility companies cause disruption or create dangerous conditions.
“In this case, I am particularly glad to see that District Judge Newton did not accept TWUL’s interpretation of regulations, which would have set a dangerous precedent.”
In her judgement, District Judge Julia Newton did not accept the defence’s reading of the regulatory code. She said: “To accept Thames Water’s interpretation of the position would indeed encourage a culture of cutting corners if an offence could simply be avoided by later undertaking remedial work.”
- *On 11 January 2019 District Judge Julia Newton found Thames Water guilty of sect 71(1) and 71(2) offences of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 by failing in the prescribed standards of Materials and Workmanship and for breaching the requirements of the statutory Reinstatement Code.
The sentences handed down by District Judge Newton were as follows:
1. Slades Hill – fine £30,000.
2. Chase Hill – fine £25,000.
3. Hedge Lane – fine £15,000.
4. Winchmore Hill – fine £15,000.
5. In respect of all the (6) other matters, no separate/further penalty was made.
6. TWUL was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170.
7. The total of £85,170 is payable in 28 days.
TWUL agreed to pay LBE’s costs in the sum of £10,000.