Utility companies that leave potholes in the UK’s roads will be penalised under new government measures that will come into force in April 2023.
The government said the new measures aim to prevent thousands of potholes being left behind by utility companies nationwide and ensuring more roads are resurfaced to a high standard.
Current regulations allow highway authorities to check 30% of a utility company’s total number of inspection units and the charge is a flat rate, regardless of how well utility companies comply with standards and safety requirements.
Under the new measures a new performance-based inspections regime will be introduced, where the worst performing utility companies, whose road works fail to meet strict standards, will face tougher financial penalties.
These companies will go on to be inspected more regularly by local authorities to ensure their work meets rigorous criteria and they leave roads in a good condition.
Utility companies are on average failing 9% of the inspections that are carried out, according to government figures, with the worst failing a significant 63% of its inspections.
Companies will now be required to provide local authorities and the DfT’s street manager service with more up to date and accurate data on live road works.
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They will also be asked to provide information about when works start and stop at weekends and all local authorities must send start and stop information about their works.
This will update sat navs and other apps so motorists are aware of where road works are happening and can avoid those areas – preventing traffic from building up.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he wanted companies that create potholes to be held to account more effectively.
He said: “The plague of potholes is the menace of our roads. We’ve already invested billions of pounds into roads maintenance, helping local authorities keep their highways well maintained, and I’ll continue working to make sure all road-users around the country can enjoy the safe, world-class infrastructure they deserve.”
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said the change in law will bring an end to poor quality road works.
“The changes we’re bringing in will also help to keep motorists updated with live traffic updates – easing congestion. This is a clear victory for motorists and all road users who will be able to enjoy smoother, safer journeys,” she added.