North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive has unanimously approved a permit scheme to improve the control and management of work across the county’s roads.
The scheme is aimed at reducing congestion and improving traffic management. Previously, utilities companies such as electricity, water, gas and telecoms had to notify the County Council of intended work on the highway. The council could provide direction and apply penalties if a company breached the notice, but had limited control over when work was done.
Under the permit scheme, all scheduled work will be granted a permit and the County Council will have greater ability to ensure that work in the same area does not clash and that, where possible, jobs avoid peak times of day and busy times of year.
It will be able to impose conditions, such as the rapid removal of equipment and signs after work is completed, and impose penalties for breaching conditions or working without a permit.
Companies will pay for a permit and discounts will give companies an incentive to work outside peak times and to co-operate with other utilities which need to work in the same area.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Our main objective with this scheme is to cut congestion and to reduce delays for the travelling public. We recognise that utility companies need to have access to their equipment under the highway in order to maintain supplies to their customers.
“On the other hand, highways work can and does cause delays and inconvenience to members of the public and to businesses and the new permit scheme will increase the ability of County Council to manage and co-ordinate those activities to the benefit of all road users.”
It is proposed to introduce the permit scheme in February.