Chris Ames 23 June 2021

Council prosecutes firm over traffic jams

Council prosecutes firm over traffic jams image

Thames Water has been prosecuted by a London borough after creating what the council said were unnecessary traffic jams three times in less than a fortnight.

In two separate magistrates' court hearings the utility firm was ordered to pay £8,254 in fines and costs after it admitted three breaches of the law by failing to obtain a valid permit to carry out works on the public highway.

Wandsworth LBC said that in November Thames Water had caused needless congestion by closing lanes, installing temporary traffic signals and coning off parking spaces without informing its highways team.

Transport spokesperson Cllr John Locker said: ‘Thames Water displayed a wholly cavalier approach to the rules around roadworks and road closures.

'There is a system in place to ensure that roadworks are properly co-ordinated so as to minimise inconvenience to the travelling public and, to coin a phrase, Thames Water drove a coach and horses through these procedures.

‘To make matters worse, the roadworks were set up long before any actual works were to be carried out so the public were inconvenienced for longer than was necessary.’

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: ‘We have a good record of street works activities in Wandsworth, having completed more than 4,000 jobs in 2020.

‘But we accept mistakes were made in a very small number of cases.

'We’ve put measures in place to reduce the risk of this happening again.’

Cllr Locker said the council hoped the legal action would act as a timely reminder to the firm of the importance of sticking to the required procedures and keeping disruption to road users to the absolute minimum.

This article first appeared on Highways Magazine

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