10 January 2017

Successful first year for roadworks permit scheme

Brighton & Hove City Council’s roadworks permit scheme has had a successful first year with many road users reporting fewer delays, less disruption and improved journey times.

The scheme has also contributed to a reduction in collision rates - down by an average of two a month - and is setting the standard for other authorities.  Five other Highway Authorities are currently in the process of implementing the council’s scheme.

Launched in 2015, the Roadworks Permit Scheme was introduced to give the council more control over the management of roadworks in the city.

Roadworks are necessary to renew and improve the road network, carry our repairs and provide utilities to homes and businesses. However they also affect communities through congestion, delays and environmental impact.

Under the scheme operators, such as utility companies, have to apply for a permit and book time to carry out works. (Previously, operators were only required to give the council notice of their intention to carry out work. This left the council with no control on how or when they took place.)

The Permit Scheme aims to create balance and co-ordination between the various parties.

During the first year, 11,341 permits were granted and 2,067 were refused. (The permit team can refuse a permit application where timing, location or conditions are not considered to be acceptable.) Income from the permits has covered the cost of running the scheme.

Examples of successful partnership working between utility companies, initiated by the council’s permit scheme include Gas and Water Utilities working together at  Eastern Road, Water and Electric at St Georges Place and Gas and Water on Stanford Ave.

The team now co-ordinates all road and street works in Brighton & Hove, taking the time to review every application and apply conditions to minimise the impact of the works on road and pavement users.

 

A spokesperson from Brighton and Hove Buses heralded the Permit Scheme as a great success, reporting noticeable improvements right from the first day.

“Prior to the introduction of the scheme we encountered numerous examples of road works appearing without our prior knowledge; often the first we found out about them was from a bus driver spotting a contractor’s noticeboard at the side of a road.

“There appeared to be no co-ordination between various works and often multiple works were carried out on the same bus route at the same time.

“All that changed almost overnight from 30th March 2015, and we now work very well together.  All issues are discussed in advance and solutions found or problems mitigated as much as possible.”

A report on the scheme’s first year will go before the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee on January 17.