Utility companies who take too long to complete their road works will face significantly higher charges from October, transport minister Norman Baker has announced.
The maximum daily overrun charge is to rise from £2,500 to £5,000 for the first three days - and increase further to £10,000 a day from the fourth day onward.
“We know that utility firms need to dig up the road to maintain the infrastructure we all rely upon but sometimes this work takes far too long to complete, causing disruption and frustration for everyone using the road, ” said Baker.
“Increasing these charges means that utilities will pay penalties which reflect the cost of the disruption suffered when works go on longer than they should. The increases will also provide an incentive for utilities to finish works on time and prevent people sitting in unnecessary traffic jams in the first place.”
All utility companies who dig up the road must agree a time frame for their works with the local council. If a firm overstays this period and has not negotiated the additional time with the local council then they face an ‘overrun charge’ for each additional day they spend on the road. Councils must spend overrun charge income on implementing transport policies.
The legislation which allows overrun charges to be levied by local authorities is the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, s.74. New regulations will be required to effect these changes and these will be brought to Parliament shortly.