Disruptive road diggers to be fined

* Councils get new powers * Government aims to reduce disruption * Utility companies must give warning of work...

Disruptive road diggers to be fined

Contractors who don't give proper warning that they are going to dig up a road will face financial penalties under new laws announced by the Government.

Councils can now issue fixed penalty notices to any utility company that doesn't follow correct procedures before digging up roads.

The rule has been introduced so that councils will have full information on proposed street works, and can try to co-ordinate them to minimise disruption.

Offences that will be penalised include failing to give councils enough notice about major works and not telling councils when the works are completed.

Previously, councils had to take costly and time-consuming court action against offenders.

Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said: 'Disruption from street works costs the economy about 4.9 billion each year and ongoing roadworks are among road users' biggest concerns.

'These fixed penalty notices are an additional tool to encourage utility companies to give accurate and timely notices of works.'

New street works regulations forcing companies to give longer notice periods before starting works came into force last month.