Leicestershire County council (LCC) charged Transco Plc (Transco) the sum of £111,500 for six separate failures to complete under-street works to gas pipes on time. Transco was required by statute to give a notice when its works were complete, and it had failed to do so, although it gave notice of registration some time later in accordance with a code of practice published by the government. LCC treated the works as having continued until the date of these notices and imposed penalty charges on the basis that the works were deemed completed at the date of the registration notices under the relevant Regulations. Transco refused to pay, claiming that in one case it never even commenced the works and that in the other five, it had actually completed the works within the “reasonable” period allowed by the Regulations, and simply failed to serve its notice to that effect. Proceedings were issued in the High Court and a judge determined two preliminary issues in LCC’s favour. Transco appealed the judge’s decision in the Court of Appeal.
The court had to determine whether the deeming provision contained in the Regulations as to the date on which works were to be regarded as complete had any application to works that were not remedial in nature, and even if it did, whether the deeming effect was conclusive or rebuttable.