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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 17:44 GMT
'Road supremo' to cut traffic jams
Roadworks
Repeated roadworks infuriate motorists
Congestion caused by broken down vehicles and roadworks could be eased by a 'traffic manager', under new government proposals.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said the situation was so bad, especially in London, that better road management was "essential".

Utility companies may also have to apply for a permit to dig up a road.

Mr Darling, speaking at an RAC Foundation conference in London, said transport provision needed a "change in culture and approach".


All Alistair Darling has to do is give us the powers and this could be up and running in two months

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
He said the 'traffic manager' could deal with daily obstructions and decide who digs up the roads and when.

A pilot scheme in Camden, north London, where companies have to pay a daily charge to dig up streets, may be taken further.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone welcomed the proposed permit for utilities to carry out work.

"Utilities are responsible for more than 80% of all roadworks and the only way to bring them into line is for them to seek a permit in advance of any work ... then make sure the work is being done as quickly as possible," he said.

Firms fined

But he added that London did not need a "holes tsar" because Transport for London was the traffic authority for the capital.

"All Alistair Darling has to do is give us the powers and this could be up and running in two months," he said.

Gas, electricity, sewerage and communications firms already face fines if they miss deadlines.

Utilities companies argue they already co-ordinate work with each other and local councils but much repair work is unpredictable.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Karl Mercer
"One of London's most famous roads, the Strand, has been dug up 165 times in the last 12 months."

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

08 Aug 02 | Politics
14 Aug 01 | Politics
12 Mar 99 | Politics
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