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Seven Day Working - DfT Update

Please see below the contents of an email sent recently by Sally Kendall from the DfT:

Dear all
As you know, the Department for Transport consulted between 12th April and 27th May 2016 on proposals to reduce the impact of road works on local ‘A’ roads; The proposals would have imposed a charge for leaving road works unattended at weekends and for failing to remove temporary traffic lights as soon as works were complete.
Thank you to all those who responded to the consultation and provided additional data on the potential costs and benefits. We received 131 responses from local highway authorities, utility companies, contractors, groups representing the sector and road users and others, including the emergency services. We were able to use the extra information provided in these responses to add to our impact analysis of the proposals.
There was support for the general aim of the proposals with many agreeing with the need to reduce the impact of road works and the levels of frustration and delays experienced by road users. There was almost universal agreement that those carrying out works could communicate information to road users more effectively, and that temporary traffic lights should be removed as soon as works were completed.
However, concern was expressed by local authorities, utility companies and contractors about the potential costs of the proposals, some of the practicalities around implementation and the impact on staff. Many believed that existing legislation could be used more effectively to deal with the issues raised.
Following further consideration and discussion of the issues, the Department for Transport has decided to proceed, instead, with a range of other measures to reduce the impact of road works and to improve journeys for motorists and other road users. We will not be proceeding with the specific legislative proposals included in the consultation at this time.
The Government remains committed to improving the way that road works are managed by local authorities and utilities. We will be taking forward the following initiatives:
· The Secretary of State has recently made it a priority to improve the way digital data is used. We have begun work on the Street Manager project that is going to look at how we might improve the way that data is collected and shared, and how we can use this data to co-ordinate activities on the highway more effectively. First, we will assess current working practices and user needs, and that will look at how we might make the most of the latest available technology to meet public expectations for up-to-date and reliable information to be available to help them to plan their journeys.
· We want to improve the consistency of permit schemes and encourage greater take-up. We are commissioning an independent evaluation of the permit schemes that have now been set up by 60% of local authorities to evaluate the costs of setting them up, the benefits they have brought with particular emphasis on whether they have reduced duration of works, and their effectiveness as a tool for managing street works.
· We will continue to look at ways to simplify a complex legal framework, so that we can reduce overall works duration and minimise the impact on road users and local communities.
· We will work with the sector look at how they can use existing management systems and contractual arrangements to deliver the aims of the 2016 consultation.
· We plan to consult in summer 2017 on options for the future of lane rental and to test appetite for the powers amongst local authorities.
· We have laid regulations that will come into effect on 6th April and that will modernise the qualifications regime for those working in the sector. We will also be updating guidance on the inspection of works.
Sally Kendall
Head of Streetworks Policy and Regulation, Traffic & Technology Division
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