A taskforce that has been set up to help improve the quality and reduce the impact of essential utility works has created a street works pledge.
Councils, utility companies and businesses have all signed up to the agreement which is called ‘What Good Looks Like’.
The taskforce has been set up by the Local Government Association and includes the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG), Transport for London (TfL), British Chambers of Commerce and the Association of Convenience Stores.
The joint-pledge is based on five key principles – cooperation; communication; quality; safety and impact reduction – and includes:
- Businesses to be informed in advance of planned work and contacted when emergency work is needed. Also business to be given the chance to feed into local arrangements before work begins, for example on road closures
- Contracts to include a requirement for replacement work to be at a high standard and not at risk of subsequent defects. Also a commitment to – where possible – this work being carried out at the same time as the main work
- The utility/highway authority to regularly inspect work it has commissioned and rectify any aspect that does not meet required standards
- Where appropriate, work will be carried out 24/7 or hours extended to complete work as quickly as possible. Sites will not be left unattended except where necessary (for example to let concrete dry). Work outside peak hours, re-opening the road to traffic at peak times
- Councils to adopt a flexible approach to business deliveries during periods of disruption – for example through temporary changes to parking restrictions and enforcement.
Cllr Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: “Most street works are essential and utility companies generally carry them out efficiently and to a good standard. However, they can sometimes cause disruption and inconvenience to local businesses and communities, and it is vital that the works are co-ordinated and planned effectively, undertaken as quickly as possible, and reinstated to the required standard.
“This issue can only be resolved by councils, utility firms and businesses getting around the table to find a solution. This pledge is an indication of where councils, utility companies and businesses want to be and we will all sit down again later this year to gauge its success.
“We are all committed to working together to minimise the disruption of street works on residents and businesses and this joint-commitment has been designed to drive improvement forward. Regardless of who does the work in the highway – we will all work together to adopt the best practices set out in the statement.”