Clive Bairsto, Chief Executive of Street Works UK, the trade association for utilities and their contractor partners said: “Street Works UK supports in principle all efforts to encourage works to take place in the footway rather than the carriageway where that is technically possible. Utility companies and their contractor partners are strongly committed to minimising disruption for all road users, and constantly look for ways to minimise occupation of the road while delivering vital infrastructure.
“Many utility assets are already placed under the footway, and we will be working very closely with the Department for Transport and highways authorities to understand how these proposals can be implemented. However there are a number of practical considerations that need to be thought through further. It may not be appropriate to place some utility assets – particularly larger pipes – under the footway in already highly congested spaces. While utilities companies are always committed to undertaking works and placing assets in the least disruptive way, it is important that the engineering and network consequences are fully considered.
“Information from Highways Authority systems shows that utilities companies have much lower levels of occupation of the road, significantly less overrun days, and less failures relating to the reinstatement of the road than Highways Authorities.”