Utility companies could have to guarantee pothole-free roads for five years
Utility companies that dig up roads in Gloucestershire would have to guarantee they stay pothole-free for five years, under new Government plans.
Firms only have to guarantee roadworks for two years at the moment.
But the Department for Transport yesterday launched a consultation to help councils tackle the menace of potholes by making companies ensure the safety of roads for an extra three years.
Asked if the new plans were necessary, Severn Trent, the water company which covers the whole of Gloucestershire, said: “We make every effort to return roads back to normal when our teams need to carry out vital work on our network, so that our customers experience as little disruption as possible.
“We constantly review the work we carry out to make sure we reach the highest possible standards or learn any lessons we need to.”
Meanwhile Gloucestershire County Council, which is in-charge of the county’s roads, has said it has pumped £150million to fix broken highways across the county.
A county council spokesman said 39,013 potholes were fixed between April 2018 and January 2019 in Gloucestershire – the equivalent of 142 potholes a day.
Councils are obliged to let utility companies carry out works, even if roads have been recently resurfaced.
Failed trenches and other repairs outside the current two-year guarantee period are thought to be a major cause of potholes.
Councillor Vernon Smith (C, Tewkesbury East), cabinet member for highways, said: “This is a great idea from the Government – and it will make a real difference. The county council is investing £150million in resurfacing roads across our county – and we would expect that work to last at least five years if not longer.
“It is a nonsense that private utility companies can then stick trenches across those roads and only have to make the repair last two years.
“It means that taxpayers are picking up the bill for their works – and that can’t be right. I will be writing to the Transport Secretary to strongly support this plan.”