Transport for London (TfL) has successfully prosecuted National Grid Gas in connection with roadwork offences committed in central London last year.
The work, which took place between 26 and 29 July 2014, was carried out by the utility company on Grosvenor Road, a core part of the TfL Road Network through central London and part of Barclays Cycle Superhighway 8. During the work TfL’s Road Works Enforcement Inspectors noticed that the contractors carrying out the repairs had failed to set up the worksite in accordance with the relevant Safety Code of Practice.
This led to pedestrians being forced onto the carriageway, including some in wheelchairs, placing their safety at risk. The work was deemed unsafe by both TfL and the Metropolitan Police and, despite repeated requests, the company failed to make amends for several hours.
Westminster Magistrates Court therefore fined National Grid Gas £3,000 for each offence (the maximum possible fine after statutory discount for early plea), a victim surcharge of £120 and ordered them to pay TfL’s full prosecution costs of £3,946. This brought the total fine up to more than £10,000, the majority of which will now be reinvested directly into improving the transport network. In passing sentence, the Judge said "These are quite serious offences involving safety breaches with significant risk to the public.”
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: "Because of their actions, drivers, local residents and I were left fuming at the sheer incompetence of National Grid Gas during this work. Ensuring that any roadworks are carried out in a safe manner is vital, especially in a major city such as London. We will continue to prosecute those who try their luck carrying out unsafe working practices on our roads and work to ensure that all Londoners can travel through the capital safely and without delay or hindrance.”
London's Lane Rental Scheme, launched by the Mayor of London and TfL on 11 June 2012, reduces road delays by encouraging utility companies to avoid digging up the busiest roads at peak traffic times. Since then, there has been a more than 50 per cent reduction in peak-time utility roadworks at traffic hotspots.
TfL is leading the way amongst those carrying out roadworks in London, including utility companies, by scheduling around 99 per cent of its work at Lane rental locations outside of peak traffic times.
In 2012, TfL prosecuted National Grid Gas for similar offences, and since that time TfL has issued the company with more than 250 Fixed Penalty Notices for various other streetworks related offences committed across London on the TfL Road Network.