Telecoms firm fined for poor roadworks management in Edinburgh

Tuesday December 6th 2022

Edinburgh City Deal

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

A telecoms company was fined by Edinburgh Council 176 times last year after it repeatedly failed to follow the correct roadworks procedures.

The local authority has vowed to crack down on utility firms which cause excessive disruption on the streets, with inspections set to be stepped-up around sites that are dug up when repairs or installations are needed .

In the year to April officers completed 9,848 inspections to check if crews had installed adequate traffic management systems, ramps and signs and completed works to the council’s standards which sets a pass rate of 90 per cent.

A report showed that whilst Openreach, SPEN, Scottish Water and SGN all had average pass rates above 90 per cent, and Virgin Media slightly below at 86 per cent, the worst offender by far was CityFibre with an average pass rate of 53 per cent.

As a result of the “poor performance” the telecoms firm was handed 176 fixed penalty notices – nearly a third of all issued by the council in 2021/22.

The fines were given for street and roadwork closures lasting longer than expected, and sites not being properly cleared after work was carried out, as well as officials being told work had been completed when it was still in progress and in some cases no notice being received for work.

And in a bid to tighten up CityFibre’s practices council bosses are considering putting the company on an improvement notice.

Edinburgh City Council’s transport convener Scott Arthur said: “I welcome the investment CityFibre is bringing to Edinburgh, and the constructive relationship the Council has built with them.

“I’ve discussed CityFibre’s poor performance with their City Manager directly, and he shares my concerns and has assured me that the company is taking non-trivial steps to improve the situation. We have agreed to hold an urgent meeting to talk through their plans and agree a way forward.”

The report added: “Staff have recently been recruited to the Network Management team and it is intended to continue to recruit to the teams responsible for the co-ordination of road works and the monitoring of performance of public utility companies (PUs) working in Edinburgh.

“To ensure the monitoring of road works and public utility company performance is managed, it is vital to have the teams responsible resourced adequately. This will assist the co-ordination and management of the road network therefore minimising delay and disruption particularly in relation to public transport.”

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