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Broadband firm fined over ‘dangerous’ roadworks in Bridgwater

A BROADBAND firm has been fined over roadworks in Bridgwater that “posed a danger to pedestrians”.

Nextfibre Networks Ltd has been handed fines and charges totalling more than £11,000 after pleading guilty to two offences during a hearing at Taunton Magistrates’ Court on May 9.

The firm admitted “failing to install proper traffic management to ensure the safety of pedestrians” during work in two town streets in September last year.

Somerset Council prosecuted the firm over breaches of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

Along with the two charges in Somerset, Nextfibre Networks Ltd also pleaded guilty to nine similar charges in Devon and had to pay a total of £30,000 in fines and charges.

The two offences were:
• On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, Nexfibre Ltd carried out street works at Taunton Road, Bridgwater, Somerset, in contravention of S65 of NRSWA 1991 by failing to install traffic management to ensure the safety of pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities and the travelling public affected by the works.
• On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Nexfibre Ltd carried out street works at Westonzoyland Road, Bridgwater, Somerset, again in contravention of S65 of NRSWA 1991 by failing to install traffic management to ensure the safety of pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities and the travelling public affected by the works.

Passing sentence, the court gave full credit to Nexfibre Networks Ltd for guilty pleas entered at the earliest opportunity and accepted the mitigation.

However, it found aggravating factors in that the works were deficient in any pedestrian safety and therefore there was a danger to pedestrians and road users alike and that the offences were numerous and committed over two counties.

Councillor Richard Wilkins, lead member for transport and digital, said: “We take these sorts of offences very seriously, carrying out works without proper measures is simply unacceptable. We will take action if companies are in breach of their duties.

“Our message to the public is please report issues to Somerset Council if you see them – help us to make sure companies work in a safe and considerate manner.”

The court imposed fines totalling £8,000, costs of £3,325 for the offences in Somerset.

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