HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 c269W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to reduce the time taken by utility companies to complete roadworks; and if he will make a statement. [83147]

Mr. Jamieson

We are taking a range of measures to deal with this problem.

Regulations under section 74 of the New Road and Street Works Act came into force in April 2001. These allow highway authorities to charge utilities up to £2000 a day for works which overrun an agreed deadline. Over 120 authorities in England are using these powers which should encourage utilities to carry out their works more quickly and reduce disruption. We have appointed consultants (Halcrow) to monitor the effectiveness of these powers.

Further "lane rental" powers under the Act are also being tested in pilot schemes. These allow authorities to charge utility companies "lane rental" charges of up to £750 for each of their works, regardless of whether these overrun or not. These pilots are running in Middlesbrough and Camden and Halcrow are also monitoring their results in order to decide whether these powers should be applied throughout England.