A MAJOR clampdown on utility companies ‘bad workmanship’ on Redditch’s roads has been revealed after the county’s highways chief branded their record ‘appalling’.
Worcestershire County Council will impose the maximum possible fines to contractors and order them back to the site at their own expense to re-do poor quality work under the crackdown.
Outspoken county highways chief Coun Alan Amos wants an improvement in the quality of work seen on the borough’s streets and lambasted some companies for their efforts.
Coun Amos named and shamed some of the worst offenders and claimed Virgin Media failed 56 per cent of inspections carried out during work, with inspectors finding 95 per cent of cases posed a safety risk such as works not properly fenced off.
Cadent, the new name for British Gas, had a failure rate of 25 per cent, with 80 per cent classed as high risk, while 14 per cent of Severn Trent’s work failed inspection with half of it declared a high risk to pedestrians. A staggering £865,000 in penalties has been forked out so far by utility companies across the county, according to Coun Amos.
“Like every other motorist and pedestrian, I am sick and tired of the bad workmanship and incompetence of some of the utilities, with too many of the works not being finished on time,” he said.
“We are going to extend our charging to cover permits to do work on minor roads and use the additional income to employ more inspectors.
“Obviously, the utilities need to do on-going works on our roads and pavements to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of vital services and to accommodate the ever growing demands from new developments.
“The issue is how these works are carried out and I expect the highest standards of workmanship from anybody working in our county.”
In response, a Severn Trent spokesperson said: “We regularly need to complete work on busy roads or close to busy pedestrian areas and this is always taken into account when we plan our jobs in.
“We know we still have work to do and we’re regularly providing staff with additional training and support when it’s needed.”
A Virgin Media spokesperson told the Standard: “With all work that Virgin Media undertakes across the UK, we endeavour to minimise disruption for the local community and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Cadent chiefs said safety was their top priority and their compliance rate in the Midlands is currently 96 per cent for signs, lighting and barriers.
“We have not seen the latest Category A compliance rate for Worcestershire County Council,” said a spokesperson.
“We will discuss this with the County Council, our teams and contractors to understand the reasons for any problems and ensure plans are in place to improve.”