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26.04.19

Potentially fatal road repair sees highways firm fined by Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council has fined its highways maintenance contractor £30,000 for poor and potentially fatal road repairs following a prosecution.

BT has been handed the fine, which is thought to be one of the largest fines for bad road repairs after a road that was dug up to lay down cables.

District judge Teresa Szagun said the repairs “could have had fatal consequences” and Surrey CC said shoddy repairs left it with no option but to act on behalf of residents and fine the firm.

The court hearing saw the district judge criticise a section of the Trig Street in Newdigate which was not resurfaced, and gravel was left strewn across the road near a sharp bend.

It was a sub-contractor called Vasmard which had laid the cables beneath the street but no cones, barriers or temporary traffic lights were left in place, and the worker in charge was in his last day of employment with the sub-contractor.

The county council was alerted by residents of the poor repairs and Vasmard, which has since gone into liquidation, was repaired the next day.

As well as a £30,000 fine, BT has been ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,816 plus a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to the offence earlier this year.

District judge Szagun said about the repairs: “On the one hand the road conditions and weather over this period, which was dry and mild, makes the likelihood of the risk of this low and thankfully something that did not occur. It remains, however, a risk that could have had fatal consequences.”

Cameron McIntosh, Surrey County Council’s deputy cabinet member for highways, said the authority always tries to work in partnership with utility firms to ensure high safety standards.

“But in cases like this when repairs are so shoddy that lives are put at risk we’re left with no option but to act on behalf of residents, even if it seems that in this case BT was let down by someone employed by a contractor.”

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