Northumberland Council Council issues £60,000 for overrunning roadworks

Council chiefs in Northumberland have handed out almost £60,000 in fines for overrunning roadworks in the last two financial years, figures have revealed.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 11:41 am
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 8:37 am
File picture of roadworks

Northumberland County Council issued 30 fines worth a total of £36,550 in 2018/19 with the largest individual fine of £10,000 being given to Northumbrian Water for works on Choppington Lane in Bedlington, which overran by nine days. In the previous financial year the council issued 34 fines totalling £28,350.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We’re responsible for regulating works taking place on our 3,000 miles roads and we know the frustration they can cause for drivers, particularly when they over-run.

“Fines are determined by the number of days the work has over-run by, the number of streets affected, the severity of the work and the type of road involved.

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“We are in the process of introducing a new permit scheme which will mean utility companies and the highways authority will have to apply for permission before starting work in Northumberland. We can also apply more conditions about how those carrying out the work operate and co-ordinate schemes more effectively.

“All the money generated by fines is put back into maintaining and improving our roads.”

The figures were revealed Freedom of Information Act by the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The data showed that in the last financial year Newcastle Council imposed 38 fines totalling £232,000.

In 2017/18 the city dished out 47 fines, but the overall total was much lower at £45,400.

Last financial year Northumbrian Water paid the largest individual fine – £174,000.

Works on Denton Road that went over by more than a month caused the water company to pick up the mammoth bill.

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said the works stated on 7 February and were due to finish on 20 February but dragged on until 29 March.

“We work closely with those undertaking works on our city’s highways with the aim of causing minimal disruption to those whose daily lives rely on a reliable network,” he added.

Meanwhile, North Tyneside Council gave out 39 fines worth £51,350, last financial year Northumbrian Water received the largest individual fine of £9,000 for work on the Links, Whitley Bay that went over by seven days. In 2017/18 the authority issued 23 fines worth £12,100.

Sunderland Council issued 38 fines worth a total of £30,500 in the last financial year.

South Tyneside Council imposed 10 fines worth £5,250 in the last financial year, a sharp reduction from 2017/18 when 28 fines worth a total of £10,750 were given out.

A Northumbrian Water spokesperson pointed out that the work on Denton road was part of a major project to improve the water supply in the West End.

“When carrying out work in an area, we always aim to complete our works as soon as we can and to the highest possible standard, while keeping people safe and minimising any disruption to the public,” they said.

“Unfortunately sometimes circumstances are outside of our control and this means there can be delays to us completing our work. Things like adverse weather conditions, ground composition or the layout of other underground utilities can all cause challenges when carrying out and completing street works.

“The work on Denton Road, Newcastle is part of a £2.2million investment to improve the water supply in the west end of Newcastle.”

“We’ve got an excellent working relationship with our contractors and the local councils. Our contractor’s essential work on Denton Road overran due to very unusual circumstances and the fine was in line with the normal procedures in place.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the council ensuring that any roadworks carried out in their area are done so safely, swiftly and with minimal disruption to all road users.”