Leaders of the National Joint Utilities Group have raised concerns over Government plans to introduce permit schemes to help reduce the disruption caused by road works.
NJUG chief executive Les Guest said: "We continue to work hard to reduce the unfortunate disruption that sometimes occurs from street works, whilst still delivering the multi-billion pound investment programme necessary to ensure safe, secure and reliable water, gas, electricity and communications services.
"NJUG continues to offer assistance to local authorities to develop workable permit schemes that are effective in reducing disruption whilst avoiding unnecessary burdens on utilities or their customers.
"NJUG believes that permit schemes must focus on the busiest streets and the major works, such as the Kent and Northamptonshire Permit Schemes, thereby delivering maximum benefit for least administrative burden and cost.
"However, we are concerned that Government is not honouring the previous Government’s commitment to an independent one-year review of permit schemes, which would provide a valuable comparison of the benefits and costs of current schemes and help those authorities considering or planning their own permit schemes.
"Additionally, Government plans to allow local authorities to approve their own permit schemes from 2012 which is likely to lead to differing schemes across England.
"This will lead to uncertainty and confusion, and unnecessary additional costs to utilities, their customers and indeed local authorities, as well as increasing inadvertent non-compliance because of the many variations between schemes.”