A consultation into plans to cut red tape by giving councils the power to approve street works permit schemes they have developed has opened today (12 August 2014).
English local highway authorities have the option of introducing a street works ‘permit scheme’, which means utility companies and their contractors and those doing road works have to obtain a permit to work in the road.
This gives authorities greater power to co-ordinate works on their roads and direct the way those works are carried out to reduce the impact on local communities and the travelling public.
At present, an authority wishing to introduce a permit scheme has to submit an application, and get approval from the Transport Secretary.
The government proposes changes to remove the red tape around the approval for scheme which would give local councils the power to approve ‘permit schemes’ they develop for their roads from April 2015, by making an order.
Authorities will still need to develop a robust business case for their proposed scheme, including a cost-benefit analysis, and will have to consult with people likely to be affected by the scheme.
Because of this change, the department needs to revise the permit scheme regulations and plans to make some further changes to improve the way permit schemes work.
The proposed changes include the introduction of a standard set of conditions to be used across permit schemes, which set how and when works are carried out. This will make it better for utility companies who work in a number of different areas.
The department also proposes to improve the incentive to work at quieter times.
These measures will mean local councils can better co-ordinate essential works on their roads to cut delays, but to do so in a way that allows utility companies to better deliver essential works on their services that we all rely on.
The 6 week consultation closes on 25 September 2014.