Government set to tighten road work rulesAim is to cut disruption for public

22 February 2008

Plans to help reduce disruption caused by street works, including re-assessing workers' competence every five years, have been announced by the government.

Anyone working for utility companies who dig up the roads would be tested to see if their practices were up to date, in the proposals outlined by Transport Minister Rose Winterton.

The move comes as the government is introducing new measures to help councils limit delays and congestion caused by street works.

Disruption

Ms Winterton said: 'Better-trained road workers will mean more road works completed correctly the first time round, saving the public from further disruption and an estimated £14 million a year in repair costs for sub-standard work and associated costs such as congestion.

'We are already giving councils new powers to better co-ordinate road works and help cut disruption. Now we are taking action to help make sure that these works are carried out safely and to the highest possible standards by qualified workers.

'The reassessment process for workers I am unveiling today will mean workers and supervisors will have to keep up to date with the latest techniques and best practice if they are to remain qualified.'

Notice periods

From April 1, councils will be able to insist that utility companies give longer notice periods before starting street works - improving co-ordination and making it possible to prevent multiple works in the same area at the same time.

Councils will also be able to impose conditions on works, such as a ban on rush-hour working, and will also be allowed to operate a permit scheme - meaning that anyone wanting to dig up the road will have to apply for a permit that will set out specific durations for the work and conditions of how and when it is carried out.

Councils will be able to penalise utility companies that break the conditions.

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