posted 9 months ago

£5,000 Daily Fine For Leaving Roadworks Unmanned

Government considers £5,000 daily fine for councils and utility companies that leave roadwork sites unmanned over the weekend.

Councils and utility companies might soon be fined for leaving roadworks unmanned over weekends if a government proposal comes to fruition, the Department for Transport confirmed.

The purpose of the initiative – which relates to local A-roads only - is to ensure that work finishes “as quickly as possible” and minimise inconvenience for motorists. Road workers might soon, therefore, have to work weekends or remove restrictions to enable traffic to flow freely.

Failure to comply could lead to a fine of £5,000 per-day. Councils and utility companies might also be fined for leaving temporary traffic lights in place once the work has been completed. 

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. Roadworks can be essential, but that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary. That is why I am looking at proposals to reduce queues and make drivers’ lives easier. These common sense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads.”

Mr McLoughlin continued: “Over Christmas, we were able to lift a massive number of roadworks on trunk roads - but this package of measures will benefit drivers all the year round”.

Unattended for good reason

The Local Government Association's Environment Spokesman, Councillor, Peter Box, had a different perspective.

He argued: “Roadworks are necessary to ensure the supply of vital services like gas, electricity and rural broadband and to improve the roads we all use. There is already a strong financial incentive for roadworks to be finished as quickly as possible, because the hire of equipment and trained staff is so expensive.”

He continued: “Often works are left unattended for a very good reason, for example to let concrete dry. These fines may mean we end up paying people to watch concrete dry because it is cheaper”.

Drivers see red

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Road users see red when they come across sets of temporary traffic lights that are stopping traffic but there are no workmen in sight, or the work has actually finished. Ministers can't stop utility companies digging up the roads, but they can make firms pay the price if the work is not done swiftly and they do not tidy up after themselves."

President of the AA, Edmund King, added: “I think the bigger problem is when one of the utilities has dug down into a trench (and) found a pipe is damaged and then they haven't got the parts (to fix it), so the roadworks are just coned off with no work going on - sometimes for several weeks.”

He continued: “And I think it's situations like that that the government wants to crack down on."