Councils in England and Wales are demanding tough new powers to curb roadwork disruption on small businesses and road users.
The Local Government Association (LGA) wants it to be easier for councils to introduce lane rental schemes, which charge utilities companies a daily rate for work carried out on key routes at busy periods.
Councils currently have to go through a “time consuming and cumbersome” process of getting approval from the Secretary of State for Transport in order to implement them.
Lane rental schemes are a proven way of incentivising companies to finish faster, the LGA said.
In the two years since a lane rental scheme was introduced in London, serious and severe disruption from roadworks has almost halved.
Currently 2.5 million road openings a year are caused by utility companies and LGA research shows that this work has a “negative impact” on three quarters of small businesses - mainly in reduced sales.
LGA transport spokesman Cllr Peter Box said: “Councils want to do everything they can to help motorists and small businesses by minimising disruption.
“However, local authorities are being hamstrung by a lack of effective powers to tackle this issue head on. Councils know their areas best and should be able to make decisions about traffic locally.”
Convenience Store and sister title The Morning Advertiser are currently running a joint campaign to ensure that retailers are compensated for financial losses due to roadworks.
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