Poor utility reinstatements costing taxpayer £218M

December 19 2012  

121217conebigCouncil highways bosses have warned that having to repair poorly relaid surfaces originally reinstated by utility companies costs taxpayers £218M a year and want more to be done so contractors can be held to account. They also said shoddy utility streetworks are stunting local growth.

The Local Government Association (LGA) which represents more than 370 councils across England and Wales in conjunction with the Association of Convenience Stores surveyed hundreds of high street businesses across the country to assess the impact of nearby streetworks.

Utility companies are responsible for about 2M road openings a year. Though many are necessary, some could be avoided by better coordination between companies and 17% – 340,000 – are poorly resurfaced, meaning they have to be redone at the expense of local councils causing more traffic disruption and loss of earnings to local traders.

LGA proposals to improve the situation include:

  • Deposit schemes whereby should streetworks be relaid to a poor standard councils can easily use the deposit to fund the proper repair
  • An inspection or future repair charge paid by utility firms to fund streetworks inspections and resurfacing
  • A spotters' guide for traders so they can flag up poorly resurfaced streetworks
  • On line star ratings so reliable contractors can be identified by utility companies
  • Easier roll out of council permit schemes to allow utilities to coordinate works to minimise disruption.
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