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Councils urged to use roadwork permit schemes to cut congestion

roadworks

Councils across England are being urged to use permit schemes to reduce disruption caused by roadworks.

An evaluation report by Ecorys, published by the Department for Transport, found permit schemes – where companies apply to highways authorities to carry out works – reduce the length of disruption from roadworks by more than three days. It also showed these scheme cut the number of overrunning roadworks.

They cover works on all local roads and can be complemented by lane rental, where utility companies are charged daily for digging up the busiest roads at peak times.

Around 65% of authorities now have these schemes in place. The remaining 35% are being asked 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.”

Permit schemes were introduced in 2010 and give councils more control over roadworks. They can also add conditions such as the time when works can start and end, limits on the number of days they can be in place and where equipment should be stored, to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

This follows the announcement of a national rollout of lane rental schemes later this year which will see companies charged up to £2,500 a day to carry out works on busy roads.

Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent have seen congestion on the busiest roads drop.

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