Offenders face twice the fine for roadwork chaos

Picture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin
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Fines for firms that cause misery on the roads by bungling roadworks would double to a maximum £100,000 under a new law.

The move is among proposals to beef up the powers of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner. Angus Carmichael could also report companies for criminal prosecution, potentially leading to unlimited fines.

The proposal follows utility firms such as broadband operator Openreach being fined multiple times, including the current £50,000 maximum.

Carmichael said in February that these companies were responsible for a “completely unacceptable” number of botched roadworks.

Many fines were for roads poorly repaired after work had been done. This can cause vehicle damage and injury to cyclists and pedestrians falling on potholes. It can also trigger additional disruption if a road has to be closed again for further resurfacing.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, who has pledged to “embolden” the commissioner, said: “The Transport (Scotland) Bill will provide the Scottish Road Works Commissioner with the power, in certain circumstances, to issue fixed penalty notices, up to a maximum fine of £100,000.”

The RAC Foundation motoring group backed the measure. Spokesman Philip Gomm said: “Many Scottish drivers will note with frustration that it seems easier to dig holes in the street than to fill them in again.

“After long periods of works it adds insult to injury if reinstatement leaves the road more pitted and rutted than before it had been disturbed. Poor reinstatement puts road users, particularly those on two wheels, at risk of serious harm.”

But Clive Bairsto, chief executive of Street Works UK, representing utility firms, said: “Any fine issued under a fixed penalty notice should be carefully considered and used proportionately, and mechanisms introduced to ensure fines are not be used as a way to raise revenue.”

Openreach said: “Any new measures should support the ability of infrastructure providers to invest and deliver services.”