Utility firms urged to stop putting the public at risk

Kensington and Chelsea Council is calling on utility companies to stop putting the public at risk after Thames Water received its second fine in three months for carrying out unsafe works in the borough.

The company pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 2 October to two charges after workers operating on its behalf shut a section of Kensington High Street without providing a safe alternative route, forcing pedestrians to walk unprotected in the busy carriageway.

It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,159.59 costs, with a victim surcharge of £170 also imposed.

The offence, in February 2019, was recorded by a member of the Council’s inspection team, which aims to inspect every live utility works within the Borough.

Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Transport, said:

"Utility works are essential, but these unsafe practises pose a risk to our residents and visitors. It is frustrating that we have to pursue companies who are jeopardising the safety of members of the public in Kensington and Chelsea.

“We call on all utility companies operating in the borough to comply with their statutory responsibilities and will continue to do everything in our power to clamp down on those failing to do so.”

October’s case follows a previous successful prosecution in August 2019 which resulted in a £30,000 fine for Thames Water for failing to fully enclose a works site in Westbourne Park Road containing an open hole, material and tools.

Since 2017, the Council has secured successful prosecutions leading to more than £315,000 in fines being handed out.