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Transport Minister Norman Baker announces higher penalties for utility company road works that overrun
Transport Minister Norman Baker - higher penalties for overrunning road works. Pic: Department of Transport

Author: Matt Morton

IF the road works that litter your daily commute – or disrupt your delivery schedules – really stick in your throat, then there is good news from the government.

Because Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced that utility companies who take too long to complete their road works will face higher charges from the beginning of October.

So if their work is causing you to lose money because of delays, at least you will know that it will be costing the utility company too.

Mr Baker said that 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.

Currently, the maximum daily overrun charge is £2,500, depending on the type of works and the sort of street being occupied. From 1st October 2012 this will rise on the busiest roads to £5,000 a day for the first three extra days, rising to £10,000 a day from the fourth extra day onward. Councils must spend overrun charge income on implementing transport policies.

Norman Baker commented: “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.

“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.”

In additional business car news, The Department is also changing the way overrun charges are structured to reflect the fact that all overruns cause the same level of business car management or van delivery disruption regardless of how long the work was originally planned for.

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