Road Works: Utilities

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 19 October 2023.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Conservative, South Northamptonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to require utilities companies to coordinate the digging up of roads and pavements to (a) minimise inconvenience to residents and (b) ensure a good quality of surfacing.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Government recently published a plan for drivers which included support for further Lane Rental schemes, which reduce roadworks by incentivising utilities to avoid the busiest roads at the busiest times helping to reduce inconvenience for residents. The Department is to consult on requiring local authorities with Lane Rental schemes to use at least 50% of any surplus on pothole repairs or resurfacing poor quality roads and encourages all local transport authorities to get a Lane Rental Scheme if they don’t already.

The efficient co-ordination of street and road works is one of the most important aspects of street works legislation. Section 60 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) sets a duty on utility companies to use their best endeavours to minimise inconvenience to residents when carrying out street works. In 2020 the Department launched the digital service Street Manager for highway authorities and utility companies within England to plan and manage street works. To further help utility companies fulfil their duty to co-operate in this process, a substantial update to the code of practice for coordination of street works was published earlier this year.

An update to the ‘Specification of the reinstatement of openings in highways’ (SROH) was also published in 2020, outlining the standards for reinstating streets after completing street works. Utility companies must reinstate the street once the work is finished, in-line with these standards. We introduced new regulations in April 2023 that introduced performance-based inspections of reinstatement to improve quality and compliance.

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