Lives Put At Risk By Exploding Pavements

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 43 months ago
Lives Put At Risk By Exploding Pavements
Firefighters dealing with the incident in Holborn in April. Photo: Renate's Mate

Lives are being put at risk by exploding pavements caused by poor maintenance of the power network, a London Labour Assembly Member claims.

Figures obtained by Labour’s London Assembly Environment Spokesperson Murad Qureshi AM show that there have been almost 80 London exploding pavement incidents in London in the last five years.

The explosions are generally caused by electrical faults with underground electrical equipment, often due to a lack of maintenance. Between February 2010 and February 2015 there were 233 incidents where link boxes and cable pits failed — the prime cause of most pavement explosions.

77 of these incidents involved fire or explosion according to the Health and Safety Executive,  including the disruption on Kingsway in Holborn in April this year, which saw buildings evacuated and West End shows cancelled.

Qureshi said UK Power Networks and South Eastern Power, who are responsible for the maintenance of electrical equipment, should be “doing everything possible to crack down” on dangerous equipment failures.

“This [UK Power Networks] is a company which made almost two hundred million pounds profit last year. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for them to invest a little of that in overhauling their aging electricity supply network and stepping up inspections,” said Qureshi.

Last Updated 19 August 2015