KIRKLEES has welcomed new powers for councils to manage and co-ordinate roadworks.
Cabinet member for highways Clr Martyn Bolt applauded the new legislation announced by Transport Minister Rosie Winterton.
The measures are designed to reduce disruption and congestion caused by utility companies digging up roads.
From early next year councils will be able to co-ordinate work by separate companies and prevent roadworks during busy periods.
Of 36,000 roadworks last year about 16,000 were carried out by utility companies.
Clr Bolt said: “Keeping disruption and congestion to a minimum when roads have been dug up is a major challenge facing the highways service.
“Every attempt is made to co-ordinate work and to encourage utility companies to work with us to plan as far ahead as possible.
“When planning roadworks or working with utility companies when they repair or replace their services, steps are taken to reduce the impact.
“These new powers provide a much-welcome impetus to adopt better longer-term planning and working arrangements for all work in the streets and roads, plus new powers to more quickly penalise utility companies if they step out of line.’’
He added: “We always strive to work with the utility companies to minimise disruption and get work carried out as quickly as possible.
“These regulations will help to plan ahead, ensure the work does not take longer than necessary and give new powers to issue fines where necessary.”