Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds given control over city roadworks

Leeds has been given special powers to operate a permit scheme for roadworks across the city.

The council is the fifth local authority in England to be granted the legal power by the government.

The new scheme means that all contractors will have to seek approval from the council before starting work.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said the new system should minimise traffic delays and other disruption caused by roadworks.

The council will be able to refuse to grant the permit if it is not happy that the work will meet special conditions aimed at minimising potential traffic delays.

Those companies that break the agreed conditions, or carry out work without a permit, will have to pay a fine.

Under the current system, utility companies have statutory powers, which give them unlimited access to carry out works on the road network.

This means that by law councils are obliged to co-operate with the public utilities in their requests for road closures.

'Disruption frustration'

Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for city development, said: "Unfortunately, some of these works take longer than is absolutely necessary and could be planned better to minimise the disruption caused.

"This disruption causes frustration to the travelling public and the delays can seriously affect the local economy.

"This permit scheme gives the council greater powers to affect the way in which these works are co-ordinated and carried out for the benefit of all road users."

Five other councils in Yorkshire: Kirklees, Barnsley, Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham, have also recently received approval to introduce the scheme.

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