Council clampdown could slash the problems caused by roadworks across Barnsley

A new council scheme to control roadworks on Barnsley streets is expected to slash the disruption caused to the public and businesses, if it is approved the authority’s ruling Cabinet.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 10 April, 2019, 20:53
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Barnsley Council introduced a permit scheme for 320 of the borough’s busiest roads in 2012, meaning organisations wanting to dig up those highways have to seek permission first and follow a set of council rules when they want to start work.

It is estimated those controls have resulted in roadworks being in place for 14,450 fewer days than would have been the case without the permit scheme in place.

If the controls are extended to cover every road, the expectation is there will be another 5,000 fewer days of roadworks in place every 12 months in future, having a major impact on keeping traffic flowing and maintaining convenience for residents.

That would mean around 7,000 roadworks needing a permit each year, compared to approximately 2,000 on roads covered by the existing scheme.

When the original scheme was introduced, there were tighter regulations in place from the Department for Transport about how they should be operated, but the restrictions were loosened in 2015 and most modern schemes now include blanket coverage for all roads, rather than selected routes.

A report to Cabinet members states: “Such schemes provide the authority with the ability to proactively manage all works as a way to reduce and control the associated disruption.

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“This increased control is achieved by requiring all works promoters (i.e. anyone who wishes to work in the highway) to seek permission before undertaking works and for those works to comply with conditions which the local highway authority applies.

“The decision to operate a permit scheme only on our busiest streets came under direction from the DfT.”

Barnsley Council regards the current scheme as successful where it operates and councillors are told extending it to cover all roads would “ensure the benefits are realised on all streets.”

Benefits are seen as reducing congestion and minimising disruption, improving local air quality, allowing the council “leverage” over the way roadworks are completed.

Organisations needing a permit will have to pay, with overall annual costs estimated at £260,000, but that would cover only council expenses, creating a break-even figure.

A decision will be made when the Cabinet meets on April 17.