Search

Suffolk could get new powers to fine utilities digging up major roads

PUBLISHED: 13:37 17 February 2018

roadworks. Picture: Matthew Usher.

roadworks. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Matthew Usher.

Suffolk County Council could be given new powers to fine utility companies who dig up major roads causing rush-hour traffic chaos in a new move by the government.

However Suffolk highways chiefs, who have always resisted calls to introduce a permit scheme for utility companies, said they will have to study the details of the scheme before they decide whether to introduce it.

Transport minister Jo Johnson is planning to give councils across the country the chance to adopt a “Lane Rental” scheme which will give them the power to charge utility companies £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times.

But the details will not be published until the autumn of this year.

A pilot scheme in London and Kent has proved successful – with congestion on the busiest roads caused by utility works falling significantly.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said the authority had not received details of the Lane Rental scheme and would be studying details when they were published.

However, he added: “Our inspectors work alongside utility firms to make sure works comply with legislation, health and safety rules and avoid disruption wherever possible. A lot of negotiation goes into this and we work closely with utility companies to plan and co-ordinate works. Permit schemes do incur additional costs and drain resources from the council and utility companies, increase bureaucracy, and ultimately can divert crucial funding away from works on the ground. This may even lead to an increase in costs for tax payers and utility company customers. We therefore have to consider any proposals very carefully to make sure it’s actually in the best interest of residents.”

Mr Johnson said: “Lane rental has seen a massive drop in disruption to drivers as utility companies have changed when and where they carry out work. Now we want millions of motorists around England to get the same benefits.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “This is a very welcome announcement. Trials showed that some of the worst congestion caused by planned utility works in London was reduced by half on roads where lane rental was in operation, so rolling this out will extend the benefits nationwide.”

Other popular content

Yesterday, 11:35

A man who was missing for more than a week has been charged in connection with an incident of arson in Halesworth.

A jungle paradise hidden in the depths of East Anglia is set to play host to a wedding for the very first time.

11:19

Police are hunting a man who exposed himself to a dog walker.

Yesterday, 16:19

Police have confirmed that a woman who went missing and was the subject of an extensive search has been found.

Most Read

Yesterday, 11:35

A man who was missing for more than a week has been charged in connection with an incident of arson in Halesworth.

Read more

A jungle paradise hidden in the depths of East Anglia is set to play host to a wedding for the very first time.

Read more
United Kingdom
11:19

Police are hunting a man who exposed himself to a dog walker.

Read more
Suffolk Police
Yesterday, 16:19

Police have confirmed that a woman who went missing and was the subject of an extensive search has been found.

Read more
Suffolk Police

After opening her first shop only weeks before the start of the recession in 2007, a Bungay florist is celebrating the opening of a new shop in the town centre.

Read more
Norwich

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Beccles and Bungay Journal weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy