Govt acts on holes
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JRRY DRIVERS should be wing down fewer potholes the road if — as seems kely — the Government ;i:cepts new recommendations to control poor repairs by public utilities.
When the gas, water, electricity or phone services make holes in the roads they should mend them properly and guarantee the work for a least two years, a 255-page working party report to the Department of Transport recommended last week.
Transport Minister Lynda Chalker has warmly welcomed the review and said: "Action is long overdue." She announced that people affected by the report have until February 28, to tell the DTp what they think.
Depending on how it is received, legislation could go through Parliament in two to three years, she said. But many local authorities could take account of the spirit of the report and demand a higher standard, she added.
The Freight Transport Association has also welcomed the review. It says that the chairman, former Manchester University Professor Michael Home, had taken account of F1'A's evidence. FTA planning and traffic services manager Don McIntyre said he particularly welcomed the recommendation that the utilities be firmly responsible for their work within the guarantee period.
And he welcomed the recommendations for more information for road users and better signing; better consultation about work that might cause traffic jams and the setting up of a scheme to co-ordinate planned work to prevent repeatedly digging up the same stretch of road.
The review also concludes that more investigation is
needed into the effect heavy lorries have on road damage but that there are many other causes of damage.
The National Joint Utilities Group — which represents gas, water, electricity and telecommunications — has also welcomed the review's recommendations. And the local authority associations in England, Scotland and Wales, and the British Road Federation are also pleased with it.
But the BRF says that it is disappointed that there is no mention of a financial mechanism to speed up the repairs.