Monday, 15 October 2012

Companies Could Face New Charging Regime To Close Roads

Cllr Sarah Whitebread
(LD, Market)
Utility companies could be charged by the day for road closures across Cambridgeshire as an incentive to get work finished quickly and efficiently.

The move has been suggested by Liberal Democrat Councillor, Sarah Whitebread to make sure companies, laying new gas or water mains or carrying out similar work, complete jobs to the proper standard.

It is hoped the idea will prevent a similar situation to the one which led to negotiations over whether taxpayers should pay the £300,000 for resurfacing East Road in Cambridge last summer following work on gas mains.

Cllr Whitebread, who represents Cambridge’s Market Ward on Cambridgeshire County Council will raise a motion at full council tomorrow (Tuesday, October 16) putting forward her ideas.

A similar scheme, approved by the Department of Transport, allows Transport for London to charge companies in the capital up to £2,500 a day for closing major roads. Companies face lower charges if they carry out work outside of peak times.

In contrast, Cambridgeshire County Council charges utility companies £890.25 for road closures and £429.40 for a streetworks’ licence for 200 metres, plus £100 for each additional 200 metres.

"This year has been particularly bad for road closures in Cambridge,” said Cllr Whitebread.
“Every day of closures means misery for residents, commuters and businesses and has huge costs for the local economy.

“The council should be doing everything it can to encourage speedy work - and make sure companies leave roads in a decent condition. A charging scheme should be given serious consideration so that roads are not left in a poor condition requiring future work and further disruption.”