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Government plans to extend daily fines for utility companies to tackle roadwork disruptions

Roads Minister Guy Opperman has initiated a crucial street works consultation, forming a core part of the Government’s Plan for Drivers, aiming to efficiently regulate disruptive roadworks.

Under this new proposal, utility companies facing overruns in their street work schedules could be penalised more stringently. The plan suggests extending the existing £10,000 daily fine to include weekends and bank holidays, targeting periods of peak road travel. Presently, fines are imposed only on weekdays. Additionally, the proposal aims to increase fines from £500 to £1,000 for companies that violate work conditions, such as operating without a permit.

This move is expected to deter companies from conducting works during busy travel days, potentially generating an additional £100million over the next decade. This fund is earmarked for road resurfacing and pothole repairs, directly benefiting road users.

The consultation, coinciding with National Pothole Day, is a strategic component of the Government's 30-point Plan for Drivers. This comprehensive plan is designed to support motorists, limit excessive traffic enforcement, and advocate for driver rights.

In 2022/2023, approximately two million street works were executed in England, which, according to government estimates, have cost the economy around £4billion due to the resultant severe road congestion and travel disruptions.

Moreover, at least 50% of the revenue from lane rental schemes, where local authorities charge for the duration of roadworks, will be allocated to road improvements and pothole repairs. This initiative not only aims to expedite travel but also fosters active travel by mitigating disruptions to pedestrians and cyclists.

In a broader scope, the Government is also working on digitalising Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), encompassing traffic restrictions, parking spaces, road closures, and speed limits. This digitisation will ensure real-time updates to navigation systems, enhancing travel efficiency and paving the way for more reliable autonomous vehicles.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “After investing an extra £8.3 billion to resurface roads across England, the largest ever increase in funding for local road improvements, this Government continues to back drivers with these new measures from our Plan for Drivers.

“Our new proposals seek to free up our roads from overrunning street works, cut down traffic jams and generate up to £100 million extra to resurface roads up and down the country.”

Roads Minister Guy Opperman said: “Being stuck in traffic is infuriating for drivers. Too often traffic jams are caused by overrunning street works.

“This Government is backing drivers, with a robust approach to utility companies and others, who dig up our streets. We will seek to massively increase fines for companies that breach conditions and fine works that overrun into weekends and bank holidays, while making the rental for such works help generate up to an extra £100 million to improve local roads.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Overrunning roadworks and poorly re-instated roads from utilities companies frustrate drivers, cause unnecessary congestion, and trench defects can damage vehicles and injure those on two-wheels.

“We are pleased that the Government is looking to extend the fines for over-running street works, invest more of the surplus fines in roads and ensure that those who dig up the roads repair them to a high and timely standard.”

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Drivers shouldn’t have to put up with temporary roadworks for any longer than is necessary, so we’re pleased to see the Government is looking to do more to guarantee that utility companies minimise disruption by carrying out roadworks as quickly and efficiently as possible. They should also leave roads in better condition than they found them, which unfortunately is hardly ever the case at the moment.”


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