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Mon February 17 2020

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MP targets out-of-control roadworks

7 Feb Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh & Wickford, this week presented a private member’s Bill to the House of Commons to set penalties when roadworks overrun.

Mark Francois MP, bottom left of photo, introduces his Bill to the House of Commons
Mark Francois MP, bottom left of photo, introduces his Bill to the House of Commons

The Control of Roadworks Bill is due to have its second reading in mid-June.

Should it reach the statute book, there would be new rules laid down for the duration, timing and coordination of roadworks on local highways – and ‘stiff’ penalties if they overrun, he says.

Mark Francois, a lobbyist before becoming an MP, has achieved some prominence and a lot of media time over the past two or three years as deputy chairman of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs.

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In the ballot of MPs seeking to introduce private legislation, he was drawn as Bill number nine.

He said that he was motivated to take action in response to traffic chaos seen in his Essex constituency last autumn.

Mark Francois said: “As I’m sure my constituents are aware, we had severe traffic problems last year in Rayleigh and Hullbridge, when several property developers all began to dig up the roads at the same time. I had to intervene with them and Essex County Council in order for the roads to return to some form of normality. At the time, I said that this should never happen again. With this in mind, the purpose of my private member’s Bill is to promote a sense of urgency among anybody seeking to dig up the roads, to ensure that they carry out their works in a time efficient manner or face severe financial penalties. I intend to consult interested parties this spring, and produce a detailed Bill, hopefully with the government’s support, to see the Bill enter the statute book by the end of the year.”

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