Calderdale Council has welcomed government proposals which would allow local authorities to charge utility companies by the hour for roadworks which cause significant disruption.
If the plans are approved it would encourage companies to plan their work, avoiding busy routes and peak travel times.
The utility companies could avoid charges by planning their works during quieter periods, such as weekends and evenings and by working together to avoid repeated roadworks on sections of the network, minimising delays.
The proposals are designed to reduce journey times, and trials in London and Kent have seen severe congestion fall by more than 50%.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Barry Collins said:
“We strongly support these proposals which would give local authorities the powers to make sure the disruption to our roads is kept to a minimum.
“Unfortunately some roadworks are unavoidable as they’re vital to maintaining the network, whether that’s the highway or the utility services, such as the gas and water pipes and electricity cabling which run underneath.
“With careful planning and co-ordination however, the impact on road users can be significantly reduced, easing congestion and keeping traffic moving. We would also expect to see an improvement in air quality too, since there would be a reduction in standing traffic.”
The Department for Transport is consulting on a series of options to minimise the disruption of works for road users and businesses, and to make schemes more efficient for utility companies carrying out necessary works.
The Government’s consultation will close on 28 October 2017 and if approved, the changes could be introduced by 2019