Comment: ‘Fine firms and name and shame them’

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OUR roads and pavements are forever being dug up. If it’s not the trams, it’s for water, or gas, or electricity, or broadband, or to repair potholes.

Sadly, far too often the resurfacing work is completed in a shoddy way. It doesn’t look good and it often leaves the city scarred with potholes.

Currently, many of the worst offenders are our biggest companies: BT, Scottish Gas Networks, Scottish Water, ScottishPower and Virgin Media, or those firms they subcontract the work to.

But far too often it is the taxpayer who is picking up the bill.

So, today’s declaration of intent from Edinburgh City Council is very welcome.

The local authority has said it will inspect every roadwork site to ensure firms are maintaining the quality of repairs.

And crucially, they will be made to repair inadequate work.

Furthermore, the council has said it will name and shame the worst offenders, revealing today that almost 800 fines have already been handed our for poor workmanship.

However, the council must ensure these fines are meaningful. The companies named above are all major corporations to which small fines will have little impact.

Indeed, employing more inspectors will cost the City Chambers more money, so we need to ensure the get-tough policy is self-funding.

And, hopefully, in the longer-term the number of problems will reduce as firms realise that the city and its voters will not put up with a poor quality finish.

Get tough, fine them and then name and shame.

Maybe, then the message will get through.

We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

We all have a role in keeping it that way, including those firms who make large profits upgrading and maintaining our infrastructure.