Praise for new permit scheme aimed at making Northumberland drivers' lives easier

Council chiefs have hailed the benefits as a new permit system for utility companies who want to dig up the roads in Northumberland, aimed at reducing disruption, goes live.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th February 2020, 3:05 am
The new roadworks scheme is now live

Previously a gas, electricity and water companies and Northumberland County Council’s own highways teams only had to provide notice about street and roadworks.

The new system means they now have to apply for a permit and the council can also apply more conditions about how those carrying out the work operate.

The Department for Transport wants all local authorities to move to permit schemes as part of a wider move to create a new system to provide more information to the public about roadworks.

Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for local services, said: “We know how frustrating roadworks can be, but this will allow us to coordinate schemes much better, limiting the amount of works going on at one time to minimise disruption to the travelling public – whether that’s on foot, bike, car, van or public transport.

“It will also mean we’re able to share more accurate information with the public on what’s planned and how long the works will last.

“And for the companies who are doing the works, this coordinated system will encourage them to work more collaboratively when planning and implementing their schemes.”

The fees will range from £35 for minor works on smaller streets up to £197 for major works.

The scheme is designed to be cost-neutral in line with the Government regulations, so the fees structure will be reviewed every year for the first three years and then every three years after that.

Northumberland’s new scheme was approved by the authority’s cabinet in November, when a cost benefit analysis revealed that for the first four years of the new system, the benefits – mainly due to improved journey times and reliability for both businesses and residents – are expected to total more than £9million per annum.

This is set against total costs of £1.5million – through the permit fees for the utility companies, the council’s extra administration costs, etc – but still results in a net value of £7.5million.