London traffic jams caused by roadworks may be eased by a scheme to control the holes and trenches dug by utility companies.
Eighteen boroughs are seeking a new London Permit Scheme to ensure that companies who dig up the roads agree to conditions and timing that limit the disruption.
The final decision on whether to grant the scheme rests with the transport minister, and is expected within the next three months.
Meanwhile, local authorities only have limited powers over where, when and for how long companies can dig up roads, regardless of the chaos they may cause.
Says Mayor of London Boris Johnson: “We have introduced a voluntary code of conduct, working with the companies on keeping the roads clearer.
“But a crucial step is to give the process some real teeth, which is what we are asking the Government to empower us to do with this permit scheme.”
It could be in place before the end of the year, and will ensure that street works are undertaken as quickly as possible, and are co-ordinated with other all other companies that need to dig up the road.