Above: Cllr John Fairclough

Sefton Council is bidding for new powers to gain more control over planned roadworks in the borough.

Highways officials have applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) to operate a permit scheme allowing better co-ordination of street works by utility companies and other contractors.

Currently a company serves notice on the council if it plans to carry out non-emergency works in the borough. Provided they meet the requirements of the notice system, it is difficult to prevent the works going ahead.

The permit scheme, which would include a charge for additional costs, would allow greater planning and includes incentives for high quality of works, collaborative working and working outside ‘traffic sensitive’ times.

At its meeting on Thursday, Sefton Council’s Cabinet agreed to proceed with the application to the Secretary of State for Transport to operate the permit scheme, subject to final agreement.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: “We recognise that essential maintenance and repairs are part of modern life and must take place on our streets.

“However, it can be very frustrating for residents and motorists to be affected by a number of schemes in the same area, or on the same commuter route.

“A permit scheme doesn’t mean an end to roadworks or the need for urgent responses to emergency repairs, but it will give us much greater powers to ensure works can be planned more effectively in the future to try and minimise disruption on our roads.”

The permit scheme application is currently being assessed by officials in the DfT and their response is expected in early October. It is likely that the scheme will be fully operational next spring.

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