Utility firms face repair crackdown with new regulations


‘Street works regime’ aims to improve the standard of road repairs with regular inspections of utility companies.

Road work sign.
Stock image.
by Aniqah MajidApril 3, 2023

Utility companies will now be held to a higher standard after completing road repairs, as a new performance-based inspection regime seeks to crack down on poor conditions left after street works. 

More than £5.5 billion of funding by the government for highway maintenance looks to see a reduction of potholes and safer travel for motorists, cyclists, and motorbike riders. 

Telecom companies will benefit the most with more support in broadband rollout and ease in congestion through regular quality checks and better live updates on roadworks. 

Inside the reforms 

From 1 April, utility firms will be assessed on their road repairs, with those performing below standard subject to more or 100% of their repairs being inspected. 

Highway authorities charge £50 per defect inspection and a further £120 for follow-ups

These measures and costs look to incentivise companies to make noticeable improvements and avoid failing inspections. 

The average failure rate of utility companies is currently 9%, but poorer-performing companies are failing by as much as 63%. 

Firms and local authorities will also need to provide the street manager service with information on when work starts and finishes at weekends. This is to ease congestion by making sure sat nav and motoring apps are up-to-date with current street works. 

The funding in place 

More than £5.5 billion of funding will be invested between 2020 and 2025, including the Potholes Fund announced at the Budget 2020 and an extra £200 million from the Budget 2023. 

With the funding, local authorities can now effectively plan road management, fix potholes and bridges, and resurface roads. 

“The new street works regime is a victory for all road users, with motorists and cyclists able to enjoy smoother, safer, and less congested journeys as we continue to level up transport across the country and grow the economy,” said transport secretary Mark Harper

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