A decision was taken by cabinet this week to introduce a Common Permit Scheme for all works onto the highway. Southend council has been working with a number of authorities in the East of England recently (Hertfordshire CC, Luton BC and Bedford BC) to develop the scheme which will allow each highway authority to co-ordinate and manage highways works in its own areas.
The permit scheme for all higways works will mean that any company, including utilities companies, will have to book occupation of the highway to undertake works rather than the present system of companies only giving us notice that they are going to undertake works.
I am of the clear belief that the implementation of a permit scheme will help drive up standards in the co-ordination of all highways works and also in the quality of repairs. The permit scheme will allow the council to tell companies when they can work on the highway and the length of time allowed for the works. Those carrying out works will also be subjected to a more rigorous inspection regime. Faliure to comply with any conditions within their permit will then result in a fine and reinstatement works imposed.
This will mean the end of companies digging up the highway without proper notification to the council and residents and lasting for months on end with no end in sight. In the words of the Leader of the Council at cabinet - Hallelujah!