Working group to monitor road works in Edinburgh

Improving the quality of the reinstatement of Edinburgh's roads and pavements by utility companies once they have finished equipment repairs will be the priority of a new working group.

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee will consider a proposal to revive the Edinburgh Road Works Ahead Agreement (ERWAA) when it meets on August 27. It is also proposed that a working group to manage the agreement is set up.

The original agreement was signed by the City of Edinburgh Council and several major utility companies in April 2007, and pledged to reduce the impact to the public of road works, improve signage at road works, improve reinstatement and coordination.

Utility companies are legally required by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, as amended by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005,  to reinstate roads once work has been completed.

Councils have the power to inspect and report on reinstatements, and can also charge companies when inspections are carried out.

The proposal to reinstate the ERWAA will be included in the Utility Company Performance 2012/13 report, which also includes details of which companies have failed to properly reinstate apparatus such as manhole covers properly once projects have been completed.

Out of a total of 697 outstanding items of defective apparatus at the end of 2012/13, 582 were the responsibility of Scottish Water. By June 2013, Scottish Water still had 202 outstanding defective reinstatements out of a total of 370.

A total of 607 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued to utility companies in 2012/13 for failing to comply with legal requirements. This included failing to notify the Council that they had started, completed or extended work on the roads.
 
The total number of inspections carried out on utility work in 2012/13 was 13,129, a 13% increase on the previous year. By June 2013, the number of inspections was 5,352, an increase of 75%.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport and Environment Convener, said: "The Council has to balance the needs of the utility companies against the overall needs of those who live, work and travel in the city. It is our job to coordinate roadworks and we are also responsible for ensuring that roads and pavements are safe and accessible.

"The Roads department meets regularly with utility companies and bus companies so that road works can be coordinated as early as possible, and we also meet utility representatives individually every two months to discuss performance.

"Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city and is used by a lot of traffic, so it is vital that reinstatements are completed to a high standard. The Council is making every effort to make sure that this happens, but utility companies need to be working harder to do the same."

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