Hundreds of drain covers missing from Essex streets as cost of metal rises

Hundreds of drain covers have gone missing in Essex.
Hundreds of drain covers have gone missing in Essex.

Hundreds of drain covers have been stolen across Essex with fears the problem could get worse as the cost of metal soars.

Essex Highways says entire streets have been stripped of metal covers with the worst affected roads in Basildon, Harlow and Uttlesford.

Missing drain covers can be a dangerous hazard to road users and can cost around £1,000 to replace, according to Essex County Council.

It is believed the covers are being stolen and sold to scrap merchants.

Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Removing drain covers from their rightful location creates potentially dangerous hazards for pedestrians, cyclists and other road-users and is an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.

“When we are informed of a missing cover, we need to make it safe urgently either with tarmac or a cone signalling the hazard.

"These remain over the drain until a permanent fix can be organised.

“We can occasionally use plates, but they are generally used for footways as they can’t carry the weight of traffic.

"If they break, they could end up in the carriageway and become potential safety hazards.

"Using temporary yellow pedestrian plates also carries a potential safety risk as they can be easily dislodged by traffic."

"Having to replace both the cover and frame is time consuming and costly to the taxpayer –around £1,000 per lost cover/frame depending on location - and can be more where concrete roads are involved mainly due to excavation."

The public are urged to report any missing drain covers to Essex County Council.

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