Roadwork permit scheme raises £1m for Surrey coffers in first year

Dorking-and-Leatherhead-Ad

Scheme to force companies planning to carry out work to apply and pay for a permit

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: March 17, 2015

CONTROLLED:  Roadworks, including these in Oxshott High Street, have netted councils £1 million in revenue thanks to the permit scheme

 CONTROLLED: Roadworks, including these in Oxshott High Street, have netted councils £1 million in revenue thanks to the permit scheme

A PERMIT scheme designed to control roadwork projects in Surrey has raised more than £1 million in its first year, county councillors have been told.

The South East Permit Scheme was introduced on November 11, 2013, in response to a rise in complaints of multiple and ongoing road works in Surrey that often appeared with little notice and left motorists constantly frustrated.

The aim of the scheme was to force companies planning to carry out work to apply and pay for a permit before they could begin and which also required them to work within strict criteria or face fines.

According to a report presented to county councillors on March 4, 64,389 permits have been granted to utility companies and county council contractors. Of these, 6,543 were in Mole Valley.

The income generated by the scheme has just about paid for the administration of the project, with staff hours and resources thought to have cost close to £1 million this year against an income stream of £1.04 million.

Councillors were also told that Surrey was now in the process of issuing its first notice of improvement, against BT, after the company allegedly broke the conditions of its permit.

Kevin Orledge, street works manager at Surrey County Council, said: “Before we had a permit system there was a system of notices where if someone wanted to work on the road they notified us and then worked on the road.

“With the permit scheme they have to apply for a permit and pay for the permit.”

Mr Orledge added that the scheme had allowed council officers to better monitor road works, with inspections rising from 13,326 in the year prior to the scheme to 21,041 during its first year – an increase of 59 per cent.

But Dorking councillor Stephen Cooksey questioned the figures.

He said: “An inspection increase of 59 per cent is from a very low base so I suspect it’s still a very low number.”

Mr Cooksey also questioned whether more could be done to better coordinate works that were taking place close together, citing recent works in Dorking which resulted in West Street being closed at the same time as parts of the A24. He added: “To have had those at a time when West Street wasn’t closed would have been better because it seems that has added to the difficulty.”