Nottinghamshire roadworks permit scheme to reduce misery for drivers

The council is considering introducing a permit scheme for utility companies that carry out work on Nottinghamshire roads
The council is considering introducing a permit scheme for utility companies that carry out work on Nottinghamshire roads

A permit scheme to reduce travel misery for motorists is being considered by Nottinghamshire County Council.

The council is considering introducing a permit scheme for utility companies that carry out work on Nottinghamshire roads, to help minimise disruption and inconvenience to the public.

First introduced in 2010, permit schemes give councils more control over the roadworks undertaken on their streets.

Utility companies will have to apply to the local authority for a permit to carry out the work before starting, helping the council plan ahead to minimise disruption.

If a company needs to repair or extend pipework that is in the council’s roads, they currently have to give notice of the work they intend to carry out.

This means that the council has limited powers to help manage the works ,which can lead to prolonged and unnecessary disruption for road users.

Councillor John Cottee, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s communities and place committee, said: “We know residents get frustrated when they see work being done on a road by different organisations within short spaces of time.

"Sometimes this is in response to an emergency and that will always take priority but sometimes it’s because the works aren’t coordinated.

"We would like to work more closely with utilities to try and schedule work more effectively and introducing a permit scheme could potentially give us the opportunity to do that.”

A Streetworks Permit Scheme would mean utility companies have to request permission from the council to carry out work, allowing for better planning.

Such schemes also allow councils to add conditions such as the time when works can start and end, limits on the number of days they can be in place and where equipment should be stored, to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

Fixed penalty notices could also be issued to organisations working without a permit or in breach of the permit conditions.

Councillor Cottee added: “Our duty as a highway authority is to ensure all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, can get from A to B as quickly and easily as possible. We also recognise that utility works are essential and cannot be done without some disruption.

"There is strong evidence from the Department for Transport that other areas have benefitted significantly from similar schemes, but we will listen carefully to all feedback before making a decision on whether to proceed.”

A formal consultation on the proposed Streetworks Permit Scheme will now take place with utility companies and feedback will be carefully considered before reaching a final decision on whether to proceed with the scheme.

This follows the announcement of a national rollout of lane rental schemes last year, which saw companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on busy roads.

Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent have seen congestion on the busiest roads drop.