The government has asked every council in the country to introduce roadwork permit schemes after research showed the system reduced congestion.
A study has shown that permit schemes, which see companies obliged to apply for permission before they can carry out roadworks, can reduce disruption by more than three days and reduce the number of over-running roadworks.
The schemes are currently used by around two-thirds of councils, but the government has asked the remaining third to introduce them.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: ‘Roadworks are the bane of drivers’ lives, causing delays and costing the UK economy £4.3 billion a year. Permit schemes are proven to reduce the length of roadworks, allowing motorists to have fewer disrupted journeys and reducing the burden on businesses.
‘More councils should look at adopting permit schemes, as well as lane rental schemes in due course, to help drivers get to work and visit friends and family quickly and safely.’
The government has already announced the national rollout of lane rental systems, where utility companies are charged for carrying out works on busy roads at peak times, and Westminster hopes the two schemes will be used in tandem.
Councils have welcomed the news, with their representative body, the Local Government Association (LGA), declaring itself ‘confident’ in the new schemes.
‘Councils are on the side of frustrated motorists who find themselves spending wasted hours held up in tailbacks,’ said LGA spokesman Councillor Martin Tett. ‘Nearly two-thirds of councils now use the permits system which provides them with the ability to proactively manage all works as a way to reduce and control the associated disruption.
‘We’re confident these new measures will help minimise delays from roadworks, and keep traffic moving on our local roads. It is crucial that councils are given these powers without lengthy national approval mechanisms, so they can ensure critical roadworks are carried out as quickly as possible.
‘We look forward to working with government to make sure that any new system allows vital work to be completed as soon as it possibly can be.’