Now Tower Hamlets may sign up to London Roadworks permit scheme

Public consultations have begun for a scheme where roadworks in London’s East End could soon need permits before utility companies can start digging the streets up.

It would mean gas, water and electricity mains suppliers as well as cable companies having to get permission before the first shovel went in—and be fined if they didn’t finish on time.

Tower Hamlets is among the last six local authorities applying to join the London-wide permit scheme—the only inner city borough not yet signed up.

Other areas now holding consultations are Havering, Bexley, Merton, Sutton and Kingston Upon Thames. The Transport Department would give the green light at the end of the 12-week consultations if the public agrees, with the scheme in place by the end of the year.

The East End has been hit in the past by long-running roadworks. Traders in Brick Lane complained in 2009 about mains renewals lasting 18 months.

The first year of the permit scheme has already saved 150,000 days of street works in other parts of London, according to City Hall.

A ‘lane rental’ scheme is also on the cards to help further reduce traffic disruption, where utility companies would pay for how much time and road space they take up.