BT fined over dangerous trench

BT has been fined more than �4,000 after workers failed to fence off an exposed trench near the homes of elderly residents in a mid Suffolk village.

Elliot Furniss

BT has been fined more than �4,000 after workers failed to fence off an exposed trench near the homes of elderly residents in a mid Suffolk village.

The telecommunications giant was fined by St Edmundsbury magistrates following the incident in Bildeston.

On August 24 officers from Suffolk County Council's street works department visited the work site in Newberry Road and found it had been left in a “dangerous condition”.

Central Area Network Inspector Barry Shan said workmen had dug a trench along a footway in an area with a large elderly population and only left intermittent barriers.

They had also failed to “reinstate” a private access properly by leaving a two metre trench exposed.

Most Read

A dangerous defect notice was issued under the Street Works Act in relation to the work, carried out by contractors, but a return visit the following morning revealed that insufficient changes had been made and further action was taken.

BT was taken to court and admitted two counts - failing to sign and guard correctly an open excavation and failing to reinstate the highway correctly.

At the hearing, the firm was given fines totalling �4,500 and was ordered to pay costs of �1,645.40 and a �15 victim surcharge.

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “This is something we take very seriously and we will always prosecute in these circumstances in a bid to protect the public.”

A BT spokesman admitted that mistakes had been made by contractors carrying out work on behalf of the firm.

He said: “The incorrect martial was re-placed as soon as it was brought to our attention by the highway authority.??

“Since then we have changed our external civil contract (which) has been let to a single national supplier covering the whole of England and Wales.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter