HC Deb 07 December 1988 vol 143 cc161-2W
Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure the reinstatement of roads and pavements to their original standard by the utilities following work undertaken by them.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

The breaking open and reinstatement of streets by public utilities is regulated by a general code in the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950. Reinstatement is either carried out entirely by the utility, or the highway authority may elect to do all or certain portions of it themselves. In cases where the highway authority does not elect to reinstate a street, the utility is under an obligation to carry out the reinstatement in accordance with any reasonable requirements of the highway authority and to reinstate openings up to the original surface level.

We accepted in our response to the Horne report on the review of the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950 that new primary legislation is required. It is proposed that utilities should be made entirely responsible for reinstating the highway following their excavation work. They would have to comply with new national specifications for reinstatement and meet objective standards of performance for the repaired road surface. Work to prepare these specifications and standards is well advanced. Utilities would be required to make good, at their expense, any reinstatements which fell outside these standards during a warranty period.

Legislation will be introduced as soon as a suitable opportunity can be found.