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Mon June 14 2021

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Edinburgh names and shames Scottish Water for roadworks mess

23 Aug 13 Edinburgh City Council is set to begin a clamp-down on poor quality road and pavement reinstatements carried out by utility companies.

Scottish Water has been singled out as the worst culprit, accounting for 582 of 697 defects at the end of 2012/13.

A meeting next week wiill consider plans to revive the Edinburgh Road Works Ahead Agreement (ERWAA) and set up a new working group to manage the scheme. The proposal to reinstate the ERWAA also includes details of which companies have failed to carry out proper reinstatement once projects have been completed. By June 2013, Scottish Water still had 202 outstanding defective reinstatements out of a total of 370.

The original agreement was signed by the City of Edinburgh Council and several major utility companies in April 2007, and pledged to reduce the impact to the public of roadworks and improve signage, reinstatement and coordination.

Utility companies are legally required by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, as amended by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005,  to reinstate roads once work has been completed. Councils have the power to inspect and report on reinstatements, and can also charge companies when inspections are carried out.

A total of 607 fixed penalty notices were issued to utility companies in 2012/13 for failing to comply with legal requirements. This included failing to notify the council that they had started, completed or extended work on the roads.

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The total number of inspections carried out on utility work in 2012/13 was 13,129, a 13% increase on the previous year. By June 2013, the number of inspections was 5,352, an increase of 75%.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport and environment convener, said: "The Council has to balance the needs of the utility companies against the overall needs of those who live, work and travel in the city. It is our job to coordinate roadworks and we are also responsible for ensuring that roads and pavements are safe and accessible.

"The Roads department meets regularly with utility companies and bus companies so that road works can be coordinated as early as possible, and we also meet utility representatives individually every two months to discuss performance.

"Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city and is used by a lot of traffic, so it is vital that reinstatements are completed to a high standard. The Council is making every effort to make sure that this happens, but utility companies need to be working harder to do the same."

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