To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 9 September (HL17697), what plans they have to review the legal framework under which public utility companies can obstruct the highway for urgent repairs particularly in the Greater London Authority; and which projects they are taking forward to modernise the current regime.
The Department for Transport is currently considering responses to a recent consultation on amending street works permit conditions relating to portable traffic signals and pavement working. We are encouraging the minority of authorities that have not yet moved to a permit scheme to do so as these are a more effective way of planning and managing street works. In 2018, the Government announced that authorities outside London and Kent, where pioneer schemes already existed, would also now have the option of operating a street works lane rental scheme to manage the impact of works on their busiest roads at busy times.
The Government has invested £10m in Street Manager, a new digital system for planning and coordinating street works, which will be used nationwide from April 2020. The Department is currently updating the technical guidance document, “Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways”, to bring it up to date and support innovation in the sector. Finally, the Department is starting to consider improvements to the street works inspection regime.