United Utilities fined £3,500 for highway safety breach

A water supplier has been ordered to pay £6,500, including costs, for breaching highway safety precautions in Cheshire. United Utilities Water pleaded guility for failing to ensure its works were […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A water supplier has been ordered to pay £6,500, including costs, for breaching highway safety precautions in Cheshire.

United Utilities Water pleaded guility for failing to ensure its works were adequately safeguarded, causing pedestrians to use a busy highway with passing traffic, to manoeuvre around the works.

A street works inspector from Cheshire East Council witnessed machinery being used to remove spoil operating over the footway “presenting a significant danger to any member of the public”.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We take no pleasure in prosecuting a utilities company for carrying out emergency repairs. However, the safety of pedestrians and road users is paramount and we expect all contractors to operate in a safe manner and to ensure that all members of the public are not placed at any risk.”

A United Utilities spokesperson said: “The safety of our people and the public is our priority during the many street work projects we carry out across the North West every week. We’re sorry on this occasion we did not live up to the required standard. Since this matter we have reinforced the importance of safety with our contractors and employees and have been recognised externally for our compliance.”

Councils will be given the power to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times under government proposals.