LA member calls for greater roadwork controls

A London Assembly member has called on Newham Council to adopt a scheme designed to cut roadwork disruption.

Richard Tracey urged 15 councils, including Newham, to adopt London Mayor Boris Johnson’s scheme, which requires utility companies to get a permit before digging up the road.

The London Assembly Conservative Group Transport spokesman said: “In the half of the capital that has a road Road Permit Scheme, Londoners have seen it prevent 1,200 days of road works by utility companies.

“The 15 remaining councils that do not have a permit scheme ought to consider introducing one to reduce disruption to drivers and residents, especially as the government is making it easier for them to do so.”

“People often don’t realise that much of the digging up of roads is done by utility companies and councils can do little to stop them.

“A permit scheme allows road works to be regulated, meaning unnecessary works could be rejected and companies fined if they take too long.”

Mr Tracey said that traffic disruption had been cut by 20 per cent in the areas where the programme had been adopted.

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The scheme specifies the location, conditions, dates and duration of work to be carried out by a utility company and imposes a fine of up to �2,500 if the job is not finished on time .

A spokesman for Newham Council said: “The council has already applied to join the London-wide scheme and we are awaiting an answer from the Department of Transport.

“We do our utmost to protect residents from disruption and we are currently operating within the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, which gives us power to charge utility companies when works overrun,

“The London Permit scheme under the Traffic Management Act 2004 will give us greater control over when companies can work and enable us to co-ordinate different works to minimise disruption to the pedestrians and road users alike, we will also be able to impose conditions upon utility companies as well as refuse permission where appropriate.

“There will also be a charge for each permit application.”