DfT report backs permits to shorten works and cut disruption

18/06/2018
Chris Ames

The Department for Transport (DfT) has backed calls for the 35% of highway authorities that do not have permit schemes in place to consider introducing them.

An official government review found that permit schemes provide a range of benefits, including the fact that road and street works are on average completed more quickly than under noticing. The greatest impact related to major works completed by statutory undertakers, with an average reduction of 3.19 days in the time taken.

The DfT, which commissioned Ecorys UK to carry out the review, said it supports its central recommendation and would be working with the Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC) (England) ‘over the coming months’ to consider all of the recommendations.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: 'Roadworks are the bane of drivers’ lives, causing delays and costing the UK economy £4.3bn a year.

'Permit schemes are proven to reduce the length of roadworks, allowing motorists to have fewer disrupted journeys and reducing the burden on businesses.

'More councils should look at adopting permit schemes, as well as lane rental schemes in due course.'

The review sought to test a number of assumptions around permit schemes, which give highway authorities the ability to proactively manage all street works as a way to reduce and control associated disruption and can now be implemented without ministerial permission.

These assumptions included that authorities would use the levers permit schemes provide, leading to improved co-ordination and shorter works durations.

Using a ‘counterfactual’ impact evaluation that compared outcomes for a matched sample of works completed under both permitting and noticing regimes, the review found that works completed under a permit scheme were, on average, completed in a shorter time than works completed under noticing.

The finding that permitting shortens the duration of works was supported by a survey of highway authorities, in which 83% agreed or strongly agreed that their permit scheme had led to a reduction in the duration of the works, and interviews undertaken as part of the evaluation.

‘Interviewees did acknowledge, however, that at LHA [local highway authority] level it is difficult to robustly demonstrate this effect in quantitative terms, in part because of the influence of other factors such as changes in local policies or fluctuations in promoter activity.’

The review’s analysis of works data showed an increase in the recorded volume of works following the introduction of a permit scheme ‘due, at least in part, to the requirement for a permit scheme to apply to the LHA’s own works as well as statutory undertakers’.

It added: ‘Furthermore, counterfactual impact evaluation shows that works were less likely to over-run when completed under a permit regime, except for standard and major highways works. These findings imply that permit schemes provide LHAs with more control over their network, which the LHA interview findings [also] support.’

While promoters (those carrying out the works) expressed concern about attempts to influence their duration or their approach to the work, authorities interviewed ‘felt they had taken the time to consider the specific features of each job to inform this challenge’.

On the development and operation of permit schemes, the review states that evidence from a survey and interviews with highway authorities ‘suggests that the decision to explore the introduction of a permit scheme is typically prompted by a need to reduce disruption and improve control of the road network’ and suggests that these outcomes are largely achieved.

It adds that both highway authorities and promoters interviewed felt that there will be a continued upward trend in the number of LHAs operating a permit scheme.

The DfT confirmed that it will issue guidance on lane rental schemes, which can complement permitting, later this year. It added that more detail on transport secretary Chris Grayling's plan to make the footway the default location for new utilities 'will be revealed in due course'.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Inside

  • The £2.5bn Surrey partnering contract
  • The politics of protest
  • Stoke's roadworks league
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Shopmobility & Public Convenience Attendant

Grade 3 - Starting at £18,657 per annum, pro rata rising to £19,905
We are looking for an individual who works well in a small team to deliver an excellent level of service at our flagship Market Road Public Conveni... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Waste Collection Operative - HGV Driver/Loader

Grade 5 - Starting at £23,403 per annum, rising to £25,791
If you enjoy working outside and would like to make a positive contribution to the collection of both waste and recycling in the Borough, this coul... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Director of Climate Emergency & Behavioural Change

£95,000 to £109,000 per annum
At Waltham Forest we are developing an ambitious, transformative agenda to tackle the global Climate Emergency. Waltham Forest, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Waltham Forest

Street Works and Permitting Manager

£44,863 - £51,817
Are you a qualified highways engineer who wants to make a difference to the efficient running of the highway network within Lincolnshire? Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Warehouse Assistant/Driver

£20,903 - £24,491 per annum
An opportunity has arisen for the recruitment of a Warehouse Assistant / Driver. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Highways Officer

£27,741 to £30,451
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Brompton, Northallerton
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer

£27,741 to £30,451
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Boroughbridge, York
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Parking Enforcement Supervisor

£30,585 - £31,557
As part of a major service transformation, Haringey is seeking to recruit to a new number of new positions. Haringey, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Haringey London Borough Council

Bus Support Officer

£24,086
We are looking for people to work as part of our exciting new bus team! Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Environmental Health/Environmental Protection Officer - Noise

£41,607.00 - £44,598.00
This post attracts an essential car user allowance. The post holder is able to take part in the Council's flexible working scheme. Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Greenspace & Environment Enforcement Officer

£20,092 - £24,491
You will work as part of a team undertaking environmental enforcement activities which focus on improving the street environment Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Strategic Transport Modelling Manager

£47,695 - £55,226
You will provide leadership to the organisations program of transport model development Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Engineer - Highway Planned Maintenance

£22,183 - £27,041
We are seeking to appoint an Officer with highway experience. We are delivering a Highway Investment programme across... Stockport, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Chargehand Driver, Non-HGV (Street Services)

£22,185 - £22,587
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environmental Cleansing Operative (Street Services)

£21,030 - £21,408
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Waste Operative (Street Services)

£22,185 - £22,587
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cleaning Operative

Grade 2 - £17,715 per annum, pro rota.
Chelmsford City Council are seeking a self-motivated, experienced and customer-focused Cleaning Operative to join our cleaning team. You will provi... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Assistant Quantity Surveyor - Highways Contracts & Commissioning (multiple posts)

£27,741 - £29,577
In return, the Council offers a variety of benefits including Local Government Pension Scheme, flexible working and an opportunity to be... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Performance & Assurance Manager - Highways Contracts & Commissioning

£38,447 - £41,412
The post holder will provide professional contract performance management and compliance support to... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Construction Cost Manager - Highways Contracts & Commissioning

£43,597 - £46,875
With exciting new developments and high profile projects underway and in the pipeline for many years to come, working with... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video