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Urban Traffic

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 23 June 2011

We are providing local authorities with the right tools and the freedom to use them effectively. Our £560 million local sustainable transport fund will contribute to local schemes that support growth and reduce carbon.

Last week, in answer to a written question that I tabled on street works, the Minister stated that an independent report had found that legislation was “fit for purpose” but local authority practice needed to improve. He can certainly say that again! He only has to step outside this building to see the chaos caused by nearby street works that continue for week after week with no work actually being done, and that pattern is repeated across London and the rest of urban Britain. What is he going to do to create a sense of urgency about freeing up the roads—and, as a start, will he get Boris to focus on his day job and start sorting out London’s roads?

All of us have considerable sympathy for those who encounter street works, which are a nuisance to motorists and pedestrians alike, and which cause congestion and adversely affect business. We are keen to take steps to improve matters, including by developing regulations to allow targeted lane rental schemes, cutting red tape from the private scheme approval process, and considering utility works overrun charges.