West Berkshire Council

Council prosecutes SSE following Newbury traffic chaos

Roadworks caused significant congestion in the town

SSE Prosecution - London Road utility works

A utility company has been fined after its roadworks caused significant congestion in Newbury.

On Saturday 19th January 2019 roads around Parkway and London Road became gridlocked due to roadworks in place to allow SSE to undertake work. The congestion meant that weekend shoppers reported taking up to two hours to leave the car park, and buses were unable to operate according to their usual timetable.

A permit for the works issued by West Berkshire Council required SSE to manually control and monitor a set of three-way traffic lights in order to manage traffic flow but which the company failed to do.

West Berkshire Council prosecuted SSE for breach of a condition of a permit contrary to the Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations. The company pleaded guilty at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday (10th May). The company was fined £1,666.67 and ordered to pay costs of £2,218.50 and a surcharge of £166.

Jon Winstanley, West Berkshire Council's Head of Transport and Countryside said:

"SSE caused significant disruption on Newbury's roads and stopped our residents being able to go about their weekend activities.

"Work permits help us to minimise disruption to local roads. Before roadworks can start utility companies need to apply for permission to do the work. We review each application very carefully to understand the impact it will have and can set conditions to reduce that impact. On this occasion we set conditions which were not met and the result was disruption for Newbury residents and businesses.

"Our highways officers acted quickly on the day to ensure there was not a repeat of the issue the following day. The work permit, which is required for utility works, was also revoked. Given the scale of the disruption caused we felt it necessary to prosecute SSE for failing to comply with conditions of their permit to show how seriously we view breaches to the conditions we set. I am pleased they admitted the offence."