Companies responsible for ‘plague of potholes’ to be penalised more easily
The “plague of potholes” will be addressed in new government measures created to penalise companies responsible for leaving damage on roads after carrying out street works.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said utility companies will face financial penalties more easily for poor quality road works and leaving behind potholes.
It is hoped the new law change could prevent thousands of potholes being left behind by utility companies and will ensure more roads are resurfaced to a high standard.
The DfT said this will spare motorists from paying out for expensive repairs such as damage to car tyres or suspensions caused by driving over potholes.
A new performance-based inspections regime will be introduced, resulting in the worst performing utility companies whose road works fail to meet strict standards facing financial penalties.
The DfT said these companies will go on to be inspected more often by local authorities to ensure their work meets rigorous criteria and they leave roads in a good condition.
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Utility companies are on average failing 9% of the inspections that are carried out, and the worst performing utility company is failing a significant 63% of its inspections, the department said, adding that the majority of companies carry out street works to a high standard and pass inspections.
The DfT said the plans will also help speed up broadband rollout across the country, through exemptions to restrictions on works for new customer connections.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The plague of potholes is the menace of our roads.
“That’s why I’m ensuring companies who create them and leave roads in a poor state can be held to account more easily – protecting drivers from unfair repair costs.
“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.”
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh MP said: “The shameless Transport Secretary is trying to claim credit for fixing the problem he has helped create.
“Last year alone the Tories slashed funding to fix our crumbling roads by enough to fill 12 million potholes.
“He should stop taking people for fools and fix the mess his government has made of our roads.”