New Roads and Street Works Act 1991: Code of Practice for the Co-ordination of Works in Roads
Chapter 9 Procedure for Embargoes on Road Works
9.1.1 Some roads authorities consider that at particular times of the year, it is beneficial that specific roads are kept clear of road works. Historically some roads authorities have placed embargoes on roads covering the Christmas and New Year period, during Easter and summer holidays or for specific events such as the Edinburgh Festival.
9.1.2 Whilst roads authorities are free to decide when and where to place embargoes on their own 'works for road purposes', they are limited in their powers to prevent undertakers from carrying out 'road works'.
9.2 The Statutory Position
9.2.1 Section 118 of NRSWA requires roads authorities "… to co-ordinate the execution of works of all kinds …. in the roads for which they are responsible in the interests of safety and to minimise the inconvenience to persons using the road …."
Section 115 of NRSWA also provides roads authorities with "the power to give directions as to the timing of works" but only where such "...proposed road works are likely to cause serious disruption to traffic and that the disruption would be avoided or reduced if the works were carried out only at certain times or on certain days".
9.2.2 Given the nature of the powers set out in NRSWA, there are two possible forms of embargo on road works, statutory embargoes and voluntary embargoes.
9.3 Statutory Embargoes
The main aspects of statutory embargoes are as follows:
(i) A road works authority would use the power to give directions as to the timing of works under section 115 of NRSWA.
(ii) In such cases a road works authority would be stating that any works on a specified road during the specified period would be likely to cause disruption to traffic which would not be caused were the works to be carried out at another time or date.
(iii) Any such embargo should clearly state the start and end dates. The period specified should be no longer than is absolutely necessary.
(iv) There would need to be clear evidence that the roads on which the embargo would be placed would be subject to additional traffic pressures during the period of the embargo. For example, during the festive period this could include specific roads around shopping areas. During the summer there may be higher traffic flows on roads in the vicinity of airports or railway stations. This additional traffic could be pedestrian traffic.
(v) In such cases the road works authority would be expected to be able to produce historical traffic data as evidence to support its case.
(vi) The list of embargoed roads with associated start and end dates should be entered on to the SRWR at the earliest possible date. It is suggested that this be provided a minimum of 3 months before the date of commencement of the embargo to bring it into line with the statutory periods for advance notice that are prescribed to enable co-ordination to take place.
(vii) The list of embargoed roads should also be taken to the local co-ordination meeting for discussion.
(viii) The earlier proposals are brought forward, the greater the opportunity for undertakers to plan their works accordingly.
9.4 Voluntary Embargoes
The main aspects of voluntary embargoes are:
(i) Historically road works authorities have developed lists of embargoed roads because of commercial pressures from businesses served by such roads.
(ii) Although there is no statutory backing for such embargoes, road works authorities may seek voluntary embargoes from undertakers.
(iii) Road works authorities need to ensure that their proposals are balanced and proportionate. As well as taking into account the commercial interests of local businesses, they need to bear in mind the statutory rights which they are asking undertakers to forego and the commercial interests of those undertakers.
(iv) The roads proposed for a voluntary embargo should be prepared and entered on to the SRWR at the earliest possible date. It is suggested that this be provided a minimum of 3 months before the proposed date of commencement of the embargo to bring it into line with statutory periods for advance notice to enable co-ordination to take place.
(v) The embargo proposal should also be taken to the local co-ordination meeting for discussion and agreement.
(vi) In developing their proposals, road works authorities should limit the period covered by the proposed embargo to the minimum time required and should limit the number of listed roads to those where there is genuine potential for economic impact.
(vii) Where proposed embargoes cover reasonable periods and geographic areas, it is expected that undertakers would treat such requests sympathetically.
(viii) Again, the early production of such lists would allow undertakers to plan their works around any embargoed period.
9.5 Use of The Scottish Road Works Register
The SRWR contains a Permissions/Consents module which allows multi road events to be entered showing the roads covered by and the periods of such embargoes.
An undertaker entering a notice will be alerted of any potential co-ordination conflict.
9.6 Emergency and Urgent Works
Emergency and urgent works shall be exempt from any embargo.