Street works – seeking to make them better

Today I am representing the LGA at a summit to seek a way forward, with utility companies, to end unacceptable restoration of our roads and footpaths after utility companies have dug holes. We will also explore how street works can be better coordinated to reduce the impact on local communities and business in particular.

This summit has been called following the launch of the LGA’s publication ‘Holes in Our Pockets – How Utility Streetworks are damaging local growth’. This was launched towards the end of 2012 as an attempt to work with utilities rather than just criticise them, in collaboration with the Association of Convenience Stores. This approach of working with business has gone down well with DfT and seems to have put the utilities on the back foot.

The outcome we are aiming for is to get utility companies to agree to work with the LGA to improve their performance. We hope to be able to make some positive statement of joint purpose at the end of the summit, and to take matters forward via a project funded by the Highways Maintenance and Efficiency Programme.

The key questions are:

1. How are we going to improve streetworks organisation and reinstatement?

2. How can we work together to better inform business of works being carried out and of compensation schemes?

3. How can we work together to ensure contractors do a better job?

Attendees are:

– Cllr Peter Box (Lab, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council)
– Cllr Heather Kidd (Lib Dem, Shropshire County Council)
– Cllr Nick Clarke (Cons, Cambridgeshire County Council)
– Parliamentarians: Louise Ellman (Lab, Liverpool Riverside, Chair of Transport Select Committee) and David Rutley MP (Cons, Macclesfield), Norman Baker MP (Lib Dem, Transport Minister)
– Association of Convenience Stores (Shane Brennan) and British Retail Consortium (Andrew Bolitho)
– Utility companies
– Transport for London representatives
– HMEP representative (Highways Maintenance and Efficiency Programme)

Agreement is always better than legislation so les cross our fingers fr a positive outcome.

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