§ Mr. Shaw
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many representations his Department has received from local authorities asking for greater powers to enforce high standards of work when companies are laying cables in residential areas; 
(2) what measures are in place to prevent cable-laying companies causing disruption in residential areas. 
§ Mr. Hill
The Department has received many letters, from Members of Parliament and others, about cable activities. However, since the last General Election only one representation has been received from a local authority.
In residential areas and elsewhere, cable-laying in the street is subject to the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. Undertakers must give advance notice of works and co-operate with the local highway authority. Failure to do so can attract penalties. There is a duty to avoid unnecessary delay or obstruction of the street, and the street authority can direct the timing of street works in, order to avoid or reduce traffic disruption, and restrict street works activity for a period of twelve months following the completion of highway works.
On 13 October the Government went out to consultation to honour the commitment in last year's Integrated Transport White Paper to consult on options for an incentive system, with penalties, to minimise 693W disruption to road users, and to encourage improved co-ordination of street works. Copies of the consultation document were placed in the Library of the House.