Leeds and Kirklees: United effort to tackle road works

Leeds and Kirklees are among six Yorkshire councils considering tougher measures to control work on the region's roads.

Authorities in the south have already had success with pilot schemes which oblige contractors and utility firms to apply for permits before they can start diggging.

They then have to stick to the terms of the agreement or face stiff penalities if projects overrun.

Leeds has had problems recently with road excavation schemes.

Other councils involved include Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield who – along with Leeds and Kirklees – comprise the Yorkshire Common Permit Scheme, which is now consulting with advisory groups from central government as well as agencies such as the RAC and AA.

"This is a very positive scheme which will help tackle much of the frustration caused by road works," said Leeds City Council executive member responsible for highways, Coun Richard Lewis.

"These new powers will provide us with much more control over the way works are carried out.

"Organisations will have to supply a lot more information and clearly demonstrate how they will minimise disruption to Leeds road users.

"We in turn will check that information and if necessary add further conditions.

"We look forward to working with the other councils involved in this initiative to tackle the problems caused by road works."

Kirklees Council cabinet member for Highways and Streetscene, Coun David Sheard, added: "Many of us feel annoyed and impatient when we can't see actual work going on at sites where there are traffic hold-ups.

"The proposals for this permit scheme means those who wish to work on the most important roads will have to apply for a permit in advance.

"The permit will state when and how the job will be done, with fixed start and finish dates, rather than the open-ended nature of the existing system.

"Better planning and advance information will mean that people can plan their journeys to take account of road works."

The public can also have their say on the proposals which could see "fines" for firms which overrun project deadlines rise tenfold.

Consultation documents are available online by visiting www.yhauc.org.uk with responses to be over by March 9.

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