The government has announced new measures that aim to tackle street works that overrun into weekends and bank holidays.
A consultation has been launched today as part of the government’s ‘plan for drivers’, which aims to reduce the knock-on effects of delayed street works on traffic and travel times.
While utility companies can currently be fined £10,000 per day for overrunning works on weekdays, it doesn’t apply to the weekend and bank holidays. The government is hoping to change this as a ‘deterrent for working on the busiest days for road travel’.
The government also hopes to redirect ‘at least 50%’ of the fines and ‘lane rental’ fees that authorities can charge companies to be used to improve the roads and repair potholes. It says that the measures could add up to an extra £100m over 10 years to improve road surfaces while also cutting congestion and journey times.
Roads Minister Guy Opperman said: “Being stuck in traffic is infuriating for drivers. Too often traffic jams are caused by overrunning street works.
“This Government is backing drivers, with a robust approach to utility companies and others, who dig up our streets. We will seek to massively increase fines for companies that breach conditions and fine works that overrun into weekends and bank holidays while making the rental for such works help generate up to an extra £100 million to improve local roads.”
Though the government said it’s ‘essential’ that utility companies can carry out vital works, it says that the street works carried out in England 2022/23 cost the economy ‘around £4bn’ in disruption to journeys.
The announcement coincides with National Pothole Day, with the RAC announcing on the same day that its patrols attended 30,000 pothole-related breakdowns in 2023. These included faults relating to broken suspension components and distorted wheels, and represented a 33 per cent increase on the previous year.