Utility firms' roadworks 'cost Cumbrian taxpayers £15m'

Almost £15m of taxpayers' money in Cumbria is spent on road repairs after utility firms dig them up, according to a county council report.

The report found evidence of "poor workmanship and a poor attitude" to road repairs by electricity, gas and water companies and their contractors.

Les Guest from the National Joint Utilities Group said he did not believe this was "the norm".

Utility companies dig up Cumbria's roads up to 17,000 times a year.

'Stone foam'

Liberal Democrat councillor Stan Collins, who produced the report, said: "There have been ones [roads] where the filling underneath had been referred to as a 'stone foam' because there were so many air voids in it."

He said the Conservative-run county council should lobby the government for changes in the law for better regulation of utility companies and the contractors they use to repair the roads, thereby saving the council money.

Mr Guest, the chief executive of the National Joint Utilities Group which represents utility firms and contractors across the UK, said: "I don't believe that it's the norm to have poor workmanship, definitely not with the attitude.

"We've been working hard over the last few years to improve the quality of works on all of our roads."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites