Headlines: October 16th, 2009

The Government is calling on big city councils to crack down on companies who fail to finish road works on time. The Transport Minister, Sadiq Khan, told a meeting that the disruption and constant inconvenience to the travelling public caused by over-running works was not acceptable.

Announcing new tougher powers to deal with the problem in London, he called on councils in all the country’s major cities to work with the Government to deal with companies who fail to complete works on key routes on time. This could include considering higher daily charges as a penalty for overrunning. The maximum daily charge currently stands at 2,500 pounds but Mr. Khan said increases to as much as 25,000 pounds per day might be justified.

He said: “I have spent a lot of time visiting sites around the country, and the impact on traffic is chaotic. Road works are stopping buses from running on time, harming local economies because of increased congestion and blocking routes to shops and commercial premises.”

The Department for Transport’s summit on road works brought together utility companies, local authorities and representatives of motorists to examine how street works could be better executed to reduce inconvenience to road users. Mr. Khan told the meeting in Birmingham, that the Government had approved the London permit scheme, giving 18 London boroughs and Transport for London more power to coordinate works in the capital. The London scheme is the second to be approved, following Kent County Council’s scheme which was granted approval earlier this year and is likely to come into force in January.