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Utility provider prosecuted by council for causing unnecessary traffic jams

Thames Water must pay more than £8,000 in fines and costs in a prosecution brought by the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The council said the utility provider caused unnecessary traffic jams in Putney and Wandsworth three times in November 2020 with a “cavalier approach” to road closures.

During the work concerned Thames Water closed traffic lanes, installed temporary traffic signals and coned off parking spaces without informing the council’s highways team.

Wandsworth's Cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation John Locker said: “Thames Water displayed a wholly cavalier approach to the rules around roadworks and road closures.

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“There is a system in place to ensure that roadworks are properly co-ordinated so as to minimise inconvenience to the travelling public and to coin a phrase, Thames Water drove a coach and horses through these procedures.”

Cllr Locker said the utility put measures in place long before any works began, and so inconvenienced the public for longer than necessary.

He hoped Wandsworth’s decision to prosecute would be “a timely reminder” to Thames Water of the correct procedures for street works.

In two separate magistrates hearings, Thames Water was ordered to pay a total of £8,254 in fines and costs after it admitted three breaches of the Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations 2007 by failing to obtain a valid permit to carry out works on the public highway.

Thames Water has been contacted for comment.

Mark Smulian

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