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Councils and Businesses to cut costs

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The Department for Transport have put forward a proposal that changes the process of how local councils and highway agencies publicise road works when introducing new traffic restrictions.

Councils who want to carry out road works will have to submit a Traffic Regulation Order, detailing what work will be carried out so the public are made aware of when the roads will be disrupted. The current procedure is that advertisements have to be made through local newspapers when proposed work is about to take place. 

If the proposal is agreed it will allow authorities to publicise changes highlighting the areas that are going to be affected. This will be done by distributing leaflets and displaying notices in those areas.  

Included in the proposal is that councils will no longer need Whitehall Approval from Parliament to introduce traffic signs, giving them more flexibility.

The Department for Transport estimate that advertisements cost councils and Highways Agency £20 million per year, with the tax payer covering 60% of the costs and the rest is paid by utility and property developers who want to carry out work.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “It is right that residents and businesses are told about changes to their local roads, but councils and the Highways Agency should have the freedom to use their local knowledge to decide how best to do this rather than being forced to spend taxpayers’ money on indiscriminate advertising.

“These changes will save council taxpayers, the Highways Agency and businesses millions of pounds that they will now be able to spend on improving services for local residents.”

The consultation will run until 23rd April 2012 when a decision will be made as to whether the proposal will go ahead.

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By Amanda Bainbridge