The permit scheme regulations were made on 28 November 2007, and came into force on 1 April 2008. No permit schemes to control works on the highway are currently in place. We have undertaken to report to Parliament on the evaluation of the first implemented permit schemes, following their first year of operation. We hope to make a decision on an application from Kent county council for permit scheme powers within the next month.
The street works permit schemes were designed, as the Minister knows, to make utilities companies carry out work at the same time, in order to reduce congestion for the motorist, inconvenience to the pedestrian and loss of earnings for retail outlets. Since the scheme came into force on 1 April 2008, as he said, how many permits have been granted, and have they been successful?
The hon. Gentleman may not have heard my answer: none have been granted. Local authorities recognise the additional powers that they have and we hope to make a decision on Kent next month—[Interruption.] I hear some chuntering from the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) on the Front Bench. If she wishes to speak to me afterwards, I can give her a response that is not a chunter.