Headlines: September 21st, 2001

Utility companies have responded to the Government’s threat to charge them rent when they dig up roads.The National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) – an umbrella group representing a range of utility companies – has launched a ‘Streetwise’ charter. The companies signing up to the charter undertake to pursue a range of actions in order to cut disruption and to provide the general public with more information on the works which they carry out.

The Government has already introduced powers for local councils to charge utility companies when their digging works over-run, and in August, (See Publicnet Briefing, August 16, 2001) they began to pilot road-renting, where even the agreed time a road was out of use could be charged.

The Government is still to decide whether those road renting pilots should be rolled out nationally, and is also looking at other measures which might help reduce disruption and improve standards of work.