Skip to main content


The sector reacts: Is Chris Grayling right about pavements and utilities?

Extract taken from Transport Network

Transport secretary Chris Grayling's suggestion that pavements could become the default location for new utility infrastructure to cut down on roadworks and potholes has provoked angry reactions from some quarters. Transport Network gives a round-up of the key reactions and talking points.

Jerry McConkey, CEO of JAG(UK) which represents the interests of every highway authority in the United Kingdom, commented: 'What the secretary of state says is laudable but there are numerous practicalities that make it difficult to achieve. In fact, there are many utilities already with apparatus in the footway, and many of those currently in the road are simply too big to move into what is already a cluttered environment. He is right, that when you dig up a road, the repaired joints are the weakest link, opening up the road surface to wear and leading to potholes.

'The industry is exploring innovative approaches to improve performance, however many of the problems are linked to how contracts are written and awarded which wrongly encourages cost cutting. With the current emphasis on the cheapest way, we struggle to ensure utility contractors meet the statutory specifications for repairing the highway.

'There is lots of evidence and many instances, where reinstatements are not to specification. However, it is the utilities’ responsibility to ensure the standard of repair, yet corners are cut to reach the cheapest solution which is often the most expensive due to the need to revisit sites to repair defective work. This in turn creates more avoidable disruption to the travelling public. Government needs to ensure consistency and compliance from the utility companies, rather than the blame falling to contractors. Often corporate responsibility is contracted out to third parties which is not helpful.'

Read the full article, with reactions from other sector stakeholders at

Back to Listing Next
All News