Following ongoing disruption on Amersham Road A416 and other utilities work conducted across the borough, Buckinghamshire Council has announced a new “zero tolerance” approach to poor road management.
On October 2, Buckinghamshire Council declared it had “written to every utility company that operates in the county with a clear reminder of their obligations when they want to carry out roadworks”.
The news will likely come as a relief to Amersham residents, many of whom were recently frustrated by five-way traffic lights at the bottom of the A414 caused by Cadent Gas utility works. Drivers complained that traffic in the area was completely gridlocked and queues regularly lasted up to two hours.
On September 26, Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for transport, councillor Steven Broadbent, announced that the council had revoked Cadent’s licence following multiple breaches of conditions. As well as issuing fines, the council asked Cadent to “reinstate the road” before leaving the site.
This month, Bucks Council has promised to introduce more inspections making sure works are being managed correctly, as well as cracking down on matters like poor traffic management and failures to remove surplus equipment and traffic lights.
Companies will now receive a Fixed Penalty Notice upon their first breach of conditions and will have their permit revoked if a second breach occurs.
The council will also enjoy increased powers to fine utility companies, following a meeting between council representatives and Roads Minister Richard Holden MP.
Councillor Gareth Williams explained to AmershamNews: “As a result of our meetings, Buckinghamshire Council will be able to avail of new powers to properly fine utility companies that overstay their permits.
“Before we could only fine £80 a day, soon we will be able to fine them £2,500 a day for blocking our main roads.
“This will result in more money going into filling potholes and resurfacing roads, in addition to the £100million four-year program locally.”
Speaking on behalf of Bucks Council, cllr Broadbent stated: “We do want a constructive relationship with all utilities firms who have to carry out works. However, we are very much aware of the impact of these works and the disruption they cause, and it’s absolutely critical that utility firms keep to the terms of their permits and manage their works appropriately and responsibly.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many cases this year where works just haven’t been managed well enough and the inconvenience and detrimental impact of this falls onto our residents, businesses and communities. We are taking this action to make sure standards and obligations to residents are maintained.”