Currently, local authorities do not have any powers to charge utility companies for carrying out works in the highway. A highway authority may make charges under s74 of New Roads, and Street Works Act 1991, if works are unreasonably prolonged.
The Traffic Management Act 2004 introduces powers that allow highway authorities to operate a permit scheme for all works in the highway, on which undertakers will be charged. Regulations have been drafted for the implementation of permit scheme and were the subject of a consultation that closed on 26 February. The draft Regulations will be revised to take account of consultation responses and will be laid before the House for debate this summer.