Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Roddy Graham's blog: 5 March 2010 - Penalty plus
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Roddy Graham's blog: 5 March 2010 - Penalty plus

Date: 05 March 2010

Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo

Glad to see government is getting heavy on penalties on a number of fronts.

First was the news last month that the Sentencing Guidelines Council has issued penalty guidelines relating to those found guilty under the UK Corporate Manslaughter (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Corporate Homicide (Scotland) Act or Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Under the former, a work-related road death will result in an organisation being fined rarely less than half a million pounds and more likely several million pounds.

Under the latter, the fine will be seldom less than £100,000 and more likely several hundred thousand pounds.

All we need now is for relevant prosecutions to take place and heavy fines imposed for the message on duty of care to be really driven home.

Being stuck in a traffic jam is never fun but when the roadworks overrun their due finish date, drivers have every reason to fume behind the wheel. However, up to now there has been little real incentive for contractors to get on with the job and finish on time. Certainly, not in financial penalty terms.

That's all about to change with those contractors flagrantly breaching their obligations facing a tenfold increase in penalties from a daily charge of £2,500 to a whopping £25,000 per day.

According to the government, road works cost the economy £4.2 billion per year. Many of these are the result of utility companies digging up the road and government is keen for them to finish on time or face the consequences. They won't even be allowed to pass on the cost of any fines on to consumers either.

At the same time, local councils are being given extra powers to charge utility companies for inspecting the progress and completion of road works. Again, with the chance of being charged for additional inspections, following poor rectification work, perhaps we'll start seeing better road surface repairs with proper sealing and matching of surface levels.

Currently, in addition to having to zigzag between potholes, we have to contend with bouncing over uneven road surfaces as the result of poor road repairs.

With councils hard pressed to find emergency funds for 'winter' road repairs, perhaps utility companies should face the costs of resurfacing the whole road in which they have dug a channel. That way at least all road users would be guaranteed an even surface on which to travel and councils' road repair bills would be reduced. After all, the utility companies have plenty of money in their own coffers!

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