09 December 2015
Proposals to simplify and update road works laws have been published by the Minister for Transport and Technical Services (TTS), Deputy Eddie Noel.
The draft Road Works and Events Law is due to be debated by the States on 19 January 2016. The new law will save significant public service time and provide powers to make roads safer and minimise the impact of road works on Island residents.
The proposed law is designed to make improvements to the regulation of road-based activities that affect road users, in terms of delays, road safety or the roads themselves. The law covers two main areas – road works and events and has been developed in partnership with the parishes (also highways authorities, like TTS).
Both TTS and the parishes have improved the way they manage road works, but progress has been hampered by outdated and piecemeal laws which favour the rights of the utility that's carrying out the work (e.g. gas, water, electricity) over highway authority powers.
This new draft law proposes changes this, providing the legal underpinning for recently established policy and procedures, in particular, concerning the use of road works permits. The law will fulfil the following objectives:
- control of how and when works take place (in the form of a permit system)
- establishment of clear duties on people carrying out works
- strong highway authority inspection and enforcement powers
- protection of road infrastructure and utility apparatus
The law will also make the process of holding events on roads, such as the Battle of Flowers, simpler. This is currently done through an order signed by the TTS Minister. It involves 19 stages and can take up to three months, making later changes, such as postponing an event due to bad weather, difficult.
Under the new law, there will be a licence-based system instead, which will be much more flexible and save 40-60 days of TTS time and 15 days of drafting time.
Deputy Noel said “The proposed law that we are bringing to the States, with the support of the parishes, is designed to update the rules governing road-based activities, particularly road works, in line with other jurisdictions such as the UK. It is essential that TTS and the parishes, as the Island’s highway authorities, have the powers necessary to regulate such activity in the public’s best interests.”