Utility firms Fulcrum, GTC and Energetics fined for botched Scottish roadworks

Utility firms Fulcrum, GTC and Energetics have been fined £6,000 each for "systematic failings" over installation of cables and pipes in roads, the Scottish Road Works Commissioner announced today.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 12:52 pm
Utility firms are required to lodge details of progress with roadworks. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The move follows the firms being repeatedly warned over the last three years their performance was not acceptable.

Failings included substandard traffic management, late completion and poor road repairs.

They are understood to have involved gas, electricity and water work in Edinburgh and on around 30 sites in other parts of Scotland.

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The Scottish Road Works Commissioner can issue fines of up to 50,000, which is to be doubled. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The commissioner's office said this was "generally provision of new networks and connections to the existing network from a development".

Commissioner Angus Carmichael said there had been a "systematic failure" to comply with their statutory obligations and he had no option but to impose fines.

The decision followed the companies being asked last November to provide any mitigating factors.

Mr Carmichael said: “Organisations with statutory powers to lay apparatus in Scotland’s roads must comply with legislation.

"As undertakers, these companies have statutory rights which allow them to place, inspect and maintain their apparatus in roads.

"However, these statutory rights come with obligations set out in the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

"Compliance with these duties is essential to protect the road network across Scotland."

"The organisations penalised have been warned that their performance is not acceptable on a number of occasions over the last three years.

"The most recent set of unsatisfactory figures have left me no option but to issue a financial penalty.

"Organisations working in Scotland must comply with the relevant legislation.

"Failure to do so is unacceptable and has a far reaching effect across Scotland, contributing to disruption and delay as well as damage to the fabric of Scotland’s roads.

"All organisations penalised have provided assurances that processes are being modified to demonstrate early improvement.

"My office will continue to scrutinise their performance closely.”

The fines are towards the lower end of the scale, with several other companies being fined the maximum £50,000, which is to be doubled under newly-enacted legislation.

A spokesperson for Fulcrum said: “Feedback from the Scottish Road Works Commissioner is essential to ensure we continually improve our performance.

"We are working closely with his office to ensure the projects we undertake in Scotland comply with the commissioner’s guidelines and reflect our positive industry reputation as a trusted service partner.”

A spokesperson for Energetics said: “We accept the fine and feedback from the Office of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner (OSRWC) and apologise for our poor street works performance.

"We operate in partnership with many house builders, land and commercial property developers who rely on our trusted, timely and safe delivery of electricity and gas connections to major residential and commercial developments.

"We are having regular dialogue with the OSRWC to modify our operating processes and ensure all street work activities meet the required standard.”

John Trounson, managing director (assets) of GTC parent company BUUK Infrastructure, declined to comment.