UTILITIES WORKING in south London face a clampdown on shoddy streetwork reinstatement after Bromley magistrates fined cable company NTL a total of £10,250. The firm was also ordered to pay £15,000 costs.
Bromley Borough Council prosecuted NTL for 22 offences under the 1991 New Roads & Streetworks Act.
The company was found guilty of 19 counts of poor workmanship and three counts of failing to give enough notice of work.
Bromley said it would be targeting other utilities in the coming months. NTL is due back in court next week facing 24 more charges.
Bromley Council has stepped up action against utilities after successfully prosecuting Thames Water Utilities in August 1999.
Before the Thames Water ruling, a company carrying out street works only had to provide a two year workmanship guarantee. Now, if it can be proved that the work was done incorrectly in the first place, this guarantee does not apply.
This has set up the potential for more litigation. Bromley said it finds 1,500 defects a year.
In an official statement, Bromley Council said: 'We hope that, as a result of our action, the performance of NTL will improve significantly.'
An NTL spokeswoman said offences relating to poor workmanship were historical and committed by Nynex, a recent NTL acquisition. She added that liability for the three cases of failure to give due notice has been accepted by NTL's contractor RS Communications.