A bid to take back control of Britain’s roads from unnecessary closures and delays caused by spurious roadworks will be launched today when legislation is published this morning by former minister Mark Francois. The senior Tory backbencher will push his Roadworks (Regulation) Bill designed to curtail the seemingly endless increase of roadworks in Britain and help “Can the Cones.”
The Bill has come about because of a rise in the number of road and lane closures often where work is not being carried out with sometimes miles of plastic cones.
Mr Francois’s efforts now have the “full support” of the AA since he first presented the Bill to the House of Commons late last year.
It will seek to give local highways authorities much stronger powers to control the granting of permits to anyone who wanted to dig up the highway network.
The legislation would also mandate highway authorities to take all practicable steps to “deconflict” roadworks in their areas, whilst also materially increasing the fines for roadworks that overrun by up to 10 percent of company turnover for persistent offenders.
Commenting on the publication of the Bill, Mr Jack Cousens, Head of Roads Policy at the AA said: “We fully support the objectives of the Bill.
“Excessive and overrunning roadworks cause congestion, more emissions, create driver frustration and have a detrimental cost to both the local and the national economy.
“Roadworks are a necessary evil, however, poor standards mean they can easily become a negative experience.
“While Private Members Bills have limited chances of success on their own, we are hopeful that it will be adopted by the Department for Transport.”
The Bill will have its second reading on March 24 but Mr Francois is also set to meet transport minister Richard Holden to discuss how it can be progressed.
It has cross-party support including from six Essex MPs where, according to recent figures, over a 12-month period 77,000 streets and roadworks have been affected, making it the most dug up part of the UK.
Mr Francois said: “One of the great frustrations of modern life is queueing for ages in a line of traffic, inching forwards to get through a set of contra-flow traffic lights at the scene of some roadworks, only to then crawl past a large hole in the ground, heavily coned off, with absolutely no one working on the site, as you finally drive past it.
“Although it is rare for Ten Minute Rule Bills to make it onto the statute book, I do hope that during my meeting with the Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, the Department may adopt the legislation, or at the very least, strengthen Government guidance, so that we can finally ‘Can the Cones!’”