Councils fined £5,000 per day for unmanned roadworks, DfT recommends

The Department for Transport (DfT) has proposed that councils should be fined up to £5,000 a day for leaving roadworks unmanned during the weekends.

The proposal is part of the government’s wider objective to reduce congestion on A-roads in England. If enforced, the new regulations would mean those carrying out work on major routes would need to operate seven days a week, or remove road obstructions when no work is taking place.

Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said the plans would be a ‘welcome relief’ for drivers.

He said: "Roadworks can be essential but that doesn't mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary. These common sense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads."

Statistics suggest there are around two million roadworks annually, leading drivers to lose millions of hours each year to subsequent congestion. The fines would effect councils and utility companies if the roadworks are perceived to be needlessly inconveniencing drivers when left during weekends.

Councils who leave temporary traffic lights in place after the work has been completed will also be liable to penalties. Daily fines of £5,000 are already occurring for roadworks that overrun.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Road users see red when they come across sets of temporary traffic lights that are stopping traffic but there are no workmen in sight or the work has actually finished.

"Ministers can't stop utility companies digging up the roads but they can make firms pay the price if the work is not done swiftly and they do not tidy up after themselves."