Scots ‘cone tsar’ fails to impose single roadworks fine

Conservative MSP John Lamont has criticised figures showing that Scotland's 'cone tsar' failed to impose a single fine last year
Conservative MSP John Lamont has criticised figures showing that Scotland's 'cone tsar' failed to impose a single fine last year
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Scotland’s “cone tsar” imposed no fines on firms carrying out roadworks last year.

Despite taking no action against companies behind badly organised works, the Office of the Scottish Roadworks Commissioner has increased its staff.

And a Scottish Government review into the organisation has decided to spare it the axe, instead making 21 recommendations for improvements.

The quango was established in 2005 to crack down on firms which regularly mismanage roadworks.

The organisation, which costs around £300,000 to run each year, has been under fire ever since.

The Office of the Roadworks Commissioner has cost the taxpayer £3.3 million since being set up in 2005 but has imposed just £265,500 in fines.

Now a new report from the commissioner has revealed that the amount of fines has decreased from £57,500 in 2014/15 to “nil” last year. The report adds that staff numbers have “increased slightly”.

Transport Scotland recently finished a review into the office and recommended that fines should be increased to cover costs.

Scottish Conservative MSP John Lamont said: “The Scottish Road Works Commissioner has already been proven as nothing more than a waste of taxpayers’ money. To have issued no fines whatsoever is absolutely pathetic, and calls into question why this organisation continues to exist.

“No matter what the result of this review, I doubt any of the changes will be enough to justify the Scottish Government continuing to waste more money on it.”

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “It was meant to be a consumer body dedicated to helping drivers. The reality of what they do is administer fines but that’s tailed off.”

Angus Carmichael was appointed as Scottish Road Works Commissioner on a temporary basis last August.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “A recent review into the regulation of road works, including the role and functions of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner, made a number of recommendations for improving enforcement and strengthening the existing powers available to the Commissioner and roads authorities.

“ These included recommendations for increases in the levels of penalties which can be imposed for non-compliance. We are currently working up options for implementing the agreed recommendations and these will be subject to public consultation in early 2017.”