HC Deb 19 October 1992 vol 212 cc199-200W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimates he has made of the potential benefits to road users of the use of trenchless technology;

(2) what research he has funded into the cost benefit of trenchless technology.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

In 1989 the Department commissioned the transport research laboratory to assess the use of trenchless construction methods in road works in a three-year project, at a cost of £90,000. The project is intended to provide details of the potential savings to road users as a result of more widespread use of trenchless methods, and to provide information about what, if any, additional direct costs would be incurred by using trenchless methods. An interim report was produced in July 1991, and a final report, covering evaluation of methods, economics and potential for application, is due in the spring of 1993.

Associated with this project is another one, begun in May 1992, which is being carried out by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association under the title "RP 456: Planning and Investigation for the Use of Trenchless and Minimum Excavation Technology in the Installation, Replacement and Renovation of Underground Services". The report on this project is expected in 1993.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if it is his policy to encourage highway authorities and undertakers to take account of delays to road users when planning road works.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Yes. The relevant provisions of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 will come into force on 1 January 1993. They will require street authorities, normally the local highway authorities, to co-ordinate undertakers' street works and works for their own road purposes, and will impose a duty on undertakers to co-operate with the street authority and other undertakers, one of the aims being to minimise inconvenience to users of the street. We shall shortly be publishing a code of practice giving practical guidance on the carrying out of these duties.

I expect these provisions to prove effective in reducing delays associated with undertakers' and highway authorities' works in the road. I shall be monitoring the situation closely.

The Act provides an additional reserve power to make regulations imposing charges for occupation of the highway where undertakers' works are unreasonably prolonged. We shall not hesitate to implement this provision if we need to do so.

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