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LGA attacks ‘shoddy resurfacing’ by utilities

Poor quality streetworks carried out by utilities companies can cost small businesses and taxpayers millions, new research from the Local Government Association (LGA) indicates.

Some shops are forced to close, deliveries can be delayed and the repairs costs the taxpayer £218m a year.

Today the LGA is meeting with highways managers, utility company executives and politicians to discuss measures that could improve the quality of streetworks. Utilities companies are responsible for around 2 million road ‘openings’ a year, 17% of which are poorly resurfaced and must be repaired by the council.

LGA research shows that 57% of shops have had streetworks nearby over the past three years, and 72% were negatively affected by the works. 96% would like to see councils given more power to ensure roads can be returned to the proper standard.

Proposals being discussed today include a deposit scheme to fund re-lays if necessary, inspections of future repair charges to support the cost of future resurfacing and an online star ratings system to identify reliable contractors.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “Thousands of hours of streetworks disruption – closed roads, blocked pavements, temporary traffic lights, noisy drilling, restricted parking - are totally avoidable if only utility companies did the job properly.

“There’s no excuse for shoddy resurfacing and it’s unforgivable when it puts at risk the future of local shops, many of which are the product of years or even generations of hard work. The whole sector needs to sit down together and discuss how we can work together and make sure we keep streetworks disruption to an absolute minimum.”

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