Road watchdogs go full time to end bad repairs

Inspector Graeme Pryde on his rounds in Balerno. Picture: Scott Louden

Inspector Graeme Pryde on his rounds in Balerno. Picture: Scott Louden

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A PAIR of enforcers who have led a crackdown on shoddy repairs to Capital streets by utility companies have been taken on full time.

The road inspectors are part of a six-man crew who have carried out more than 20,000 inspections in the last year and who boast a 100 per cent inspection rate.

As a result of this increased scrutiny Scottish Water has been identified as the main culprit, amassing 122 fines in the last year.

In total, 404 fixed penalty notices (FPN) have been issued by the inspection team, swelling the city coffers by more than £40,000.

The current level for a FPN is £120 but can be reduced to £80 if paid within 29 days.

Council bosses have stated their intention to keep on track with their hounding of utility companies, rewarding the two road inspectors employed last year on a temporary basis with fixed-term contracts.

A plan is also being drawn up to ensure utility companies toe the line as regards works within the city.

Detailed signage listing the organisation name, reason for work, start date and duration plus complete date will be erected at the site of all works.

Companies will also be instructed to remove temporary traffic lights at weekends when work is not taking place – a pet hate of many motorists.

Any affected pedestrian crossings will also be replaced with temporary lights if the works exceed three days.

Roads inspectors will also visit each site once work commences to decide whether the area of road taken up by the job can be reduced.

City transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “This issue affects all road users, cyclists, walkers and motorists alike and comes up frequently in talks with neighbourhood partnerships and community councils.

“The hiring of two full-time inspectors will allow the inspection rate of 100 per cent of all reinstatements carried out by utility companies on the city’s roads and pavements to continue.”

A Scottish Water spokesman said the company was working hard to bring down the number of fines issued to it by the city council.

He said: “Across Scotland our compliance with national standards for reinstatements is increasing.

“We have also been investing significantly in improving services and our infrastructure in Edinburgh, for example the new £130 million Glencorse Water Treatment Works which is delivering clearer, fresher drinking water to our customers in the Capital.”