General

Joint permit scheme could save millions

A joint roadworks permit scheme between Surrey and East Sussex councils would save millions of pounds in reduced traffic jams and bodged repairs, councillors will hear next week.

In Surrey alone around 40,000 roadworks take place annually, costing the county’s economy just under £100 million due to the congestion they cause.

At the moment councils have little control over when utility companies and other businesses dig up the roads. The proposed scheme would mean firms pay for a permit before they begin work.

It is estimated this would result in a 4.4% reduction in roadworks in Surrey, saving the county’s economy around £6.7 million annually. This would be achieved through greater coordination of activity and stricter controls over when and how roadworks are carried out.

The permit scheme would also act as an incentive for companies to repair roads properly once they have finished working on them.

John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Rather than simply informing councils of roadworks, companies would have to ask permission to work in a road for a specific period of time and specified purpose.

“For example if two separate companies wanted to work on the same road, we could request they carry out their work at the same time. This means the road would only have to be closed once, halving congestion.

“By working together with East Sussex County Council we can create a single set of rules that would make it easier for companies to follow.”

It is proposed the scheme should be called the South East Permit Scheme, paving the way for other councils to join in the future.

Members of Surrey County Council’s cabinet will meet to discuss the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday, February 5.

View the full report to cabinet here.

A permit scheme was one of the recommendations recently put forward by a council task group on utility company roadworks.

Surrey County Council has a new approach to road maintenance involves planning its own improvements over five years, instead of the usual 12 months. The permit scheme will make it easier for utility companies to integrate their roadworks into this new approach.

ENDS

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley on 0208 541 7259.

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