Proposals for a new roadworks permit scheme could save the Stoke-on-Trent economy nearly £2 million a year.
Highway and utility works in the city lasted a combined 60,551 days last year, which cost local people and businesses an estimated £36.9 million due to congestion and delays.
As Stoke-on-Trent City Council is currently a ‘noticing’ authority’, companies wishing to carry out roadworks only need to tell officials about the scheme.
But the council is now looking to become a ‘permitting’ authority, meaning roadworks promoters would have to pay a fee and apply for permission – which could be denied, or granted with conditions.
Highways officers predict that this would reduce the impact of roadworks by £1.8 million a year, due to promoters being compelled to co-ordinate their schemes, such as by sharing trenches.
Cabinet members are expected to give the green light to a public consultation on the permit scheme when they meet today (Tuesday, December 15).
The Government wants all councils to become permitting authorities, and requires them to contribute to the upkeep of a national roadworks database. Noticing authorities such as the city council have no use for the database but still have to pay for it.
Did you know we offer a free email newsletter service?
Each StokeonTrentLive bulletin delivers the latest breaking news, what’s on events and the hottest talking points straight to your inbox. For more information about how – and why – to subscribe, click here.
Decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails? No problem – you can just follow the unsubscribe link.
Dan Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, believes the permit scheme will help ease the problems caused by roadworks in Stoke-on-Trent.
He said: “Roadworks might be necessary, but as a motorist myself, I fully appreciate how frustrating it can be when you get stuck in a traffic jam.
“I’ve seen comments recently from people questioning why there are so many roadworks taking place across the city at the same time, and the answer is that currently our options are very limited in preventing companies accessing and working on their assets which can be deeply frustrating.
“By introducing a permit scheme, we would be able to manage the number and duration of works taking place on the city’s roads at any one time. This would help to minimise disruption, reduce congestion and support economic growth. It would help to keep our roads moving, ensuring those who live, work and visit can travel around the city and get from A to B easily.”
Permitting authorities are not allowed to run the scheme for profit – all income through fees is only meant to cover the costs of processing applications.
Roadwork permits could cost between £30 and £171, depending on the size of the proposed works and their location.
In 2019, the city council received 8,880 notices from statutory undertakers, and 4,369 relating to highways works. There was an average of 165 sets of roadworks taking place on Stoke-on-Trent streets every day.
If the council decides to become a permitting authority the final decision will be taken by the Government.