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Crackdown on road works

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Utility companies face additional restrictions for digging up roads.

From 1 April councils will have new powers to manage when and where road works are carried out

Local Government Association transport spokesman David Sparks (Lab) said: “Councils need to take back control of the roads".

Gas, electric and water firms dug over two million trenches in roads last year.

Changes to the Traffic Management Act mean

  • Gas, electric and water companies will have to apply for a permit before starting work

  • Councils will be able to charge firms which breach the conditions of their permit or take longer than agreed to complete the works

  • Utilities companies will also have to give councils three months notice ahead of any excavations

Mr Sparks (Lab) said: “For too long utilities companies have been given a free hand to dig holes in the road with little consideration to the congestion and disruption this causes to local people. Roadworks frustrate drivers as they cause traffic jams and annoy council taxpayers because councils are left with the costs of clearing up after utility companies have moved on.

Councils 'get the blame'

“Most holes dug in the road are not done by the council yet we get the blame. At last we may be able to sort out this mess. Utility firms dug an average of 12,500 holes in each council area last year, one for every 200 yards. Constantly digging holes in the road surface shortens its lifetime by nearly a third. From April councils will be able to ban works until a specified date to stop the same streets being constantly dug up, saving the council tax payer and helping put motorists and pedestrians first.”

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