Sheffield Council rejects call to cancel Amey's street works contract over safety incidents

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore
Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore
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Sheffield Council has rejected a call to cancel Amey's street works contract following a number of safety incidents.

A member of the public revealed 10 health and safety incidents had so far been recorded during the council contractor's £2bn Streets Ahead programme to renovate the city's roads, which began in 2012.

Western Road, in Crookes, where 23 trees planted in honour of fallen soldiers have been earmarked for the chop

Western Road, in Crookes, where 23 trees planted in honour of fallen soldiers have been earmarked for the chop

Addressing yesterday's full council meeting, Richard Davies said the incidents, about which he provided no additional details, had been listed in the response to a question he had asked under the Freedom of Information Act.

"In consideration of their appalling safety record, including prosecutions for fatalities (outside Sheffield), do you commit to terminating the contract forthwith, and if not why not?" he asked Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore.

"By not doing so you're sending out a clear message that the council's putting money ahead of the safety of the public."

Mr Davies also called for an immediate stop to the felling of trees in the city, pending an inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigates suspected safety breaches in the workplace.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment, said the HSE had not issued any 'stop notices' as there had been no incidents which it deemed serious enough to merit such a measure.

Councillor Dore said there were no plans to cancel Amey's contract but the council would always take action if a contractor was found to be in breach of its conditions.

"Our job is to make sure all council contractors adhere to the contract," she told the council chamber.

"If they're breaching health and safety regulations on that contract I'm sure there will be penalties.

"If those penalties go so far as to be able to terminate a contract without any financial penalty for the council that's something I would seriously consider."

Her comments came ahead of a heated discussion about the fate of a row of trees in Western Road, Crookes, which were planted in memory of soldiers killed during the First World War.

Coun Lodge announced at the meeting that the council was reviewing plans to fell 23 of those trees, following a petition signed by more than 5,100 people.

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