Our Executive is to consider a proposal to tackle one of the main causes of frustration on the roads for residents and businesses.
At its meeting on 14 November, the Executive will be recommended to approve a permit scheme to improve control and management of work across the county’s roads. The aim is to reduce congestion and improve traffic management. The proposal follows a 12-week consultation.
Currently, utilities companies, such as gas, electric, telecoms and water, must notify the County Council of work they intend to carry out on the highway. The council can offer direction and apply penalties if a company breaches the notice, but has limited control over when work is done.
The permit scheme would increase the County Council’s control. All scheduled work would have to be granted a permit and the County Council would have greater ability to ensure that works in the same area do not clash and that where possible jobs avoid peak times of day and particularly busy times of year. It would be able to impose conditions, such as requiring rapid removal of equipment and signs after work is completed.
The County Council would be able to impose penalties for breaching conditions or working without a permit.
Companies would pay a fee for a permit. This would vary depending on the scale of the work.
Discounts would give companies an incentive to work outside peak times and to collaborate with other utilities that need to do work in the same area. The fees have been calculated to cover only the cost of running the scheme in accordance with national guidance.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “This proposal is about better control and management of our roads. The aim is to reduce congestion and minimise delays.
“The scheme wouldn’t necessarily mean fewer works on the road, as these works are essential to deliver the services provided by utility companies. The aim is to minimise their impact. We would be able to develop our controls to ensure works are carried out with as little inconvenience as possible to road users and, in time, we would expect to see works on the road for shorter periods.”
It is proposed the permit scheme be introduced in February 2018.