§ Mr. Fitzpatrick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will activate powers under section 74 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 to allow highway authorities to charge utilities whose works overrun. 
§ Mr. Hill
Regulations activating the powers under section 74 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 to allow highway authorities to charge utilities whose works overrun came into force on 1 April. We will be monitoring very closely the effect which the new powers have on the level of disruption to road users caused by street works. We have made clear that if it becomes apparent that these have not led to a sufficient reduction in disruption, then the Government are prepared to introduce further measures to address this problem.
We are also issuing today two related publications. The first of these—"Best Practice in Street Works and Highway Works"—is designed to encourage utilities and highway authorities carrying out works in the street to make sure that these are completed speedily and to a high standard. Copies are being sent to every utility and highway authority. The other—a revision of the existing "Code of Practice for the Co-ordination of Street Works and Works for Road Purposes and Related Matters" is intended, among other things, to ensure that works carried out by different bodies are co-ordinated effectively, so as to minimise disruption.