There has been a surprising lack of comment following your report that local authorities are to be given powers to reduce delays caused by public utilities works in the highway (NCE 29 September).
The suggestion that charges will be imposed if works take 'too long' worries me as it opens up the possibility of disputes as to whether time extensions are justified.
The only indisputable facts in such a case are that works were in progress for a certain number of days and that a certain area of the highway was obstructed. Charges should therefore be levied based on the whole duration of the works (and of any necessary remedial work), the daily or peak traffic flows and the degree of obstruction caused.
Obstruction of a footway also needs to be considered for charging. By this means a clear incentive would exist to encourage prompt and effective completion of works.
OJ Oliver (M), 9 Campion Close, Aylesbury, Buck, HP20 1QG