The company has been in court at least 27 times since 2010 to face charges brought by the capital’s councils and Transport for London (TfL).
Failures including carrying out street work without a permit, poor standards of workmanship, leaving unsightly holes in the road, and safety breaches when work was under way.
BT has been convicted of at least 97 offences between 2010 and 2019 in London, according to court papers for yet another prosecution brought against BT over roadworks in Florian Road in Putney. Workers at the site were caught out over safety concerns during work to replace a decaying pole on October 14 last year.
According to the documents, Wandsworth council inspector Luke Redman visited the site and “saw two men working in the carriageway operating heavy machinery”.
“(He) noticed that there was a very limited number of barriers and cones securing the works area from passing pedestrians leaving the site accessible should someone wish to enter. The machinery and replacement pole were also left unguarded next to parked vehicles which could have caused serious injury or damage.”
Mr Redman said he challenged the workmen over their “dangerous” set-up, dubbing it a “high-risk fail” which put pedestrians in peril. But when asked to make the site safe with cones and barriers, the BT workers reportedly said “that isn’t my job” and “this is how we work all the time in other boroughs”, Lavender Hill magistrates’ court heard.
The council submitted a series of pictures of the work site to the court, together with a list of BT’s previous convictions. It added that there may be other prosecutions against the company for which information was not available.
After receiving a guilty plea from BT over the incident in Florian Road, magistrates fined the firm £5,000 and ordered it to pay a £2,000 victim surcharge, and £1,300 in prosecutions costs.
Records show BT has shelled out £624,000 in fines and costs for cases brought to court between 2010 and 2019.
In 2017, TfL said it had issued nearly 1,000 fixed penalty fines to BT since 2010, and the company was then fined £25,000 by magistrates for another safety breach in London. Court data also reveals BT has been prosecuted for 19 breaches since the case in 2017, including receiving one fine of £90,000.
Openreach, a subsidiary of BT which was in charge of the work in Florian Road, said through a spokesperson: “The health and safety of our people, contractors and the public is our number one priority and everyone working for, and on behalf of Openreach, is fully trained to a very high standard.
“We’re really disappointed that the high standards we expect were not met. We’ve reviewed and taken on board any learnings and given additional coaching and support where required.”