hames Water has been fined £24,000 for leaving a manhole cover open and not properly fenced off while carrying out works in a South Kensington street.
Kensington and Chelsea Council took the utility firm to court after a council officer witnessed contractors carrying out the “unsafe” work in Egerton Gardens in September.
A contractor was seen working in one manhole chamber, while another was also left uncovered and not properly fenced off by barriers.
Kensington and Chelsea Council said it put members of the public – “especially to the visually impaired and any cyclists/motorcyclists that may have entered the area” – at risk, along with the contractors.
Thames Water pleaded guilty and was prosecuted at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday, under Section 65 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) for carrying out unsafe works in Egerton Gardens, South Kensington.
It was fined £18,000 after the successful prosecution brought by Kensington and Chelsea Council, and was also instructed to pay a victim surcharge of £2,000 and the council’s legal costs of £4,090.82.
Cllr Cem Kemahli, Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment said: “Our Network Management officers are working hard to keep our residents and visitors safe by ensuring works are carried out in a safe and professional manner. This prosecution demonstrates that we will not tolerate unsafe works on our streets from Thames Water or any other company.
“It is important that companies proactively put safety measures in place to prevent risk of harm to the public and their employees.”
Thames Water has paid £92,000 in fines since 2018 for Section 65 offences in the borough.
Since 2018, Kensington and Chelsea Council has prosecuted Thames Water for Section 65 offences on five occasions with fines totalling over £92,000. A further four simple cautions have also been issued by the council for Section 65 offences.
Thames Water has been prosecuted under Section 65 NRSWA 38 times across London since 2011, with fines totalling approximately £338,956.81 including legal costs.
A Thames Water spokesperson said: “On Thursday, June 29, we were sentenced for a single admitted breach of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
“We’re sorry for not meeting the required standards on this occasion, in the course of street works done by a contractor working on our behalf.”