Thames Water has been fined for causing congestion in south west London due to unauthorised road closures.

The utility company has been prosecuted by the council after creating traffic jams in Putney and Wandsworth three times in under a fortnight last November.

The company was fined by magistrates for causing congestion on Putney Hill, Buckhold Road and Putney Bridge Road.

The utility company is said to have closed traffic lanes, installed temporary traffic signals and coned off parking spaces without informing the council’s highways team.

In two separate court hearings the company was ordered to pay a total of £8,254 in fines and costs after it admitted three breaches The Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations 2007, by failing to obtain a valid permit to carry out works on the Public Highway.

This Is Local London: Traffic on Putney Bridge RoadTraffic on Putney Bridge Road

The first closure took place on Putney Bridge Road on November 10, 2020.

Traffic signals, signs and barriers were put in place at the junction with Oxford Road which closed one lane and caused tailbacks to vehicles and buses in both directions.

Wandsworth Council has said there were no Thames Water operatives or contractors on-site and no actual work was being carried out.

Their investigations revealed that the utility company only applied for a street works permit later that day.

Further disruption occurred on Putney Hill on November 18, 2020 when Thames Water coned off a section of the northbound carriageway without prior approval or notification and without any of its workers on scene.

This Is Local London: Traffic congestion on Buckhold RoadTraffic congestion on Buckhold Road

A similar process occurred on November 25, on Buckhold Road, using temporary traffic lights and cones to block off half the road causing travel disruption to local traffic and bus services.

The council’s transport spokesman Cllr John Locker said:

“Thames Water displayed a wholly cavalier approach to the rules around roadworks and road closures. There is a system in place to ensure that roadworks are properly co-ordinated so as to minimise inconvenience to the travelling public and to coin a phrase, Thames Water drove a coach and horses through these procedures.

“To make matters worse the roadworks were set up long before any actual works were to be carried out, so the public were inconvenienced for longer than was necessary, which frankly adds insult to injury.

“We hope the legal action we have taken here acts as a timely reminder to them of the importance of sticking to these procedures and keeping disruption to roads users to the absolute minimum.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We have a good record of streetworks activities in Wandsworth, having completed more than 4,000 jobs in 2020. But we accept mistakes were made in a very small number of cases. We’ve put measures in place to reduce the risk of this happening again, and will continue to work constructively with Wandsworth Borough Council to keep disruption to a minimum during essential work on our sewer and water networks.”