interzone55 09:06 05 Dec 2007

A couple of months ago the road outside my house was dug up without prior notice. There was no indication of who was doing the work, or who they were working for. When I contacted the council's Engineering department they had no knowledge of the work being carried out.

Now the same thing has happened outside Asda, a full carriageway has been closed whilst a big hole is dug in the road, again there's no sign of who is doing the work or who they're working for.

Is there not a law that requires a) prior notice, b) details of the parties doing the work and who they're working for & c) a telephone number to ring for information about the work.

  Pine Man 11:03 05 Dec 2007

Yes, its called the New Roads and Streetworks Act.

  €dstowe 11:14 05 Dec 2007

Why not ask one of the people digging the hole?

  octal 11:32 05 Dec 2007

They have got to have a licence, this is an extract from our local authority web site:


The New Roads and Streets Work Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1991. The regulations and the Code of Practice came into operation on 1st January 1993. In professional circles this act is known by the acronym NRSWA.

The purpose of the act, broadly speaking, is to give authority to Statutory Undertakers to carry out works including excavation and repairs on the public highway, and to empower local authorities (also known as highway authorities) to co-ordinate all street works and to monitor an agreed percentage of the total works executed by each company in accordance with the agreed Code of Practice.
The role of the highway authority

The London Borough of Waltham Forest as a highway authority is the ‘watchdog’ for all street works carried out by the various companies on the public highway in the borough. It is mainly a policing role to play: - for example, it is the duty of the highway authority to ensure that all temporary and permanent reinstatements of highway openings conform to prescribed performance standards and to take appropriate action against companies for unsatisfactory performance. We have to ensure that all companies carry out road works following the regulations correctly, for instance, correct use of signing and guard-works, fixing signs properly and securely, correct use of temporary traffic lights and stop/go boards where necessary etc. It doesn't matter whether works are small or large, on the ground or overhead, lasting minutes or months, all road works must give basic warnings and information to road users.
Which companies can dig up your streets?

  octal 11:32 05 Dec 2007

The Statutory Undertakers that are allowed to work on the public highway in Waltham Forest are:
Company Details
Company Name Contact Telephone Numbers
Thames Water Utility 0845 9200 800 (24 hours)
EDF Electricity 0800 028 0247 (24 Hours)
National Grid Gas 0800 0965 678 (24 Hours)
Transport for London (TFL) 0845 305 1234
BT / Open Reach 0800 800 151

They are known by different names such as utility companies, statutory undertakers, stats companies, or works promoters. There are other companies that are allowed to work on the public highway, but the list above covers the main group. It is mandatory that all utility companies hold a street works licence in order to carry out road works on a public highway and it is illegal for any company to execute street works without a valid licence or permission from the relevant highway authority.

We have contacted the utility companies before publishing their contact numbers and they have kindly given permission to do so.
Any complaints?

If you have a complaint to make about road works undertaken by a utility company on the public highway, for example, if a trench has been left open for too long, or an excavation is not sufficiently signed and guarded, or if equipment has been left behind after a recent job etc. you should first try to identify which company is responsible for the problem, and inform the company using the numbers above. If you are unable to identify the company, or you receive an unsatisfactory response from them, you should then contact us at Highway Maintenance.

Please call Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000

Under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, Statutory Undertakers have a legal duty to provide a guarantee for all street works they carry out on the public highway for materials and standard of workmanship. The guarantee begins immediately after the work is permanently reinstated and runs for two years for an excavation under 1.5 meters deep and three years for excavations 1.5 meters or deeper.

London Borough of Waltham Forest, like all other boroughs in the country, faces a mammoth task in policing and co-ordinating the multitude of street works carried out by the various utility companies in the streets of the borough. For example, during the financial year 1998/1999 alone over 8000 sites have been opened by various companies. Policing and monitoring such a vast number of works is a relentless and constant battle that never ends.

We shall continue to add and update this information service as time goes on. If you have any queries regarding this material please phone on 020 8496 2529 or by email [email protected].

So the bottom line is your local authority should know all about it.

  interzone55 12:19 05 Dec 2007

"Why not ask one of the people digging the hole?"

If there was anyone there i would...

I found out who dug my road up from my MP, apparently it was emergency gas main work prompted by the recent court case in Glasgow. Seeing as they were working on the gas mains I would have thought there was a requirement to plaster no smoking signs around in case of potential gas leaks during the work

  laurie53 21:02 05 Dec 2007

Are you complaining about the roadworks, the lack of consultation, the lack of no smoking signs or just complaining?

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