Scheme to speed-up Hertfordshire roadworks

UTILITY firms in Hertfordshire will have to cut the disruption caused by their road works after Transport Minister Norman Baker approved the country’s latest permit scheme.

The scheme, the sixth in the country, will give four councils more powers to co-ordinate road works and take tough action against companies who break the rules - including issuing fines of up to �5,000.

The four authorities are Bedford, Hertfordshire, Luton and Southend-on-Sea.

The scheme requires anyone carrying out road works to apply for a permit in advance and allows councils to set conditions on timing, co-ordination and the amount of road space left available to road users.

Companies who work without a permit or break the conditions will be fined up to �5,000.

MP Norman Baker said: “I am delighted to be able to give the go ahead for this permit scheme.

“Although we all know that road works are sometimes unavoidable, the disruption they cause can be a hugely frustrating for road users and pedestrians alike, as well as costing businesses time and money. That is why it is important that councils use the powers they have to make sure utility firms carry out works with consideration for those who use the road.

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“We are determined to tackle problem road works and make sure that those who dig up the road are made accountable when disruption occurs.”

The new scheme will come into affect in November.

Hertfordshire will be the first county council to apply a full permit scheme to all of its roads.

And Stuart Pile, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “We have been frustrated in the past by a lack of legal power to co-ordinate road works. While road works are unavoidable, this scheme will allow us much greater powers to co-ordinate all work on our roads and reduce disruption to road users.

“The roads in Hertfordshire are very busy and the scheme will allow us to keep traffic moving as much as possible.”