Westminster brings street works permit scheme into line with new regulations.
Since January 2010, Westminster City Council, in partnership with all other London councils and Transport for London (TfL), have operated, a permit scheme which granted authorities greater powers to ensure consistency and facilitate better co-ordination of roadworks.
Prior to the permit scheme local authorities had limited powers to control where, when and for how long roads were dug up - regardless of the chaos they caused. Since the inception of the scheme, there has been a reduction in the disruption caused by road works in central London because for the first time councils are able to control when road works are undertaken.
Prior to the scheme, it was estimated there were around one million holes dug in London’s roads each year, with little or no regulation, and most utilities were only required to give short notice of upcoming works and 90 per cent of works were carried out with less than ten days notice to the highway authority. Each year in Westminster alone seven and a half square miles of road are dug up nearly 28,000 times.
The permits cost the utilities up to £240 per roadwork, and the fees cover the authority's costs giving them more powers so multiple jobs can be carried out at the same time. By law local authorities are not able to profit but just cover their costs.
Fines are given by issuing a fixed penalty without the need to go to courts, meaning any punishment is swifter and less bureaucratic. The council and the Mayor of London have already been working with the utility companies to try to improve the situation.
This year, the Regulations that govern permit schemes have been updated and to be compliant with the amended regulations, the City Council has produced a legal Order signed by the relevant delegated authority. Read the Permit Scheme Order and the revised permit scheme.
For further information on the street works issues please see visit our frequently asked questions.