'Permission required by companies to do roadworks' under proposed scheme
A new scheme under which utility companies would have to ask permission to carry out roadworks will be considered by Surrey County Council (SCC) next week.
Approximately 40,000 roadworks take place in the borough annually - costing just under £100 million due to the congestion caused.
Councils have little control over when utility companies and businesses dig up the roads, but under a proposed joint roadworks permit scheme between Surrey and East Sussex councils, firms would have to pay for a permit before they begin work.
A Surrey County Council spokesman said this would result in an estimated 4.4 per cent reduction in roadworks in the county and save SCC £6.7 million annually.
The reduction in savings would be achieved through "greater coordination of activity and stricter controls over when and how roadworks are carried out".
It would also act as an incentive for companies to repair roads properly once they have finished working on them.
Councillor John Furey, SCC’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 meaning the road would only have to be closed once, halving congestion.
"By working 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.
SCC’s cabinet will meet on February 5 to discuss the proposal.