£5,000 fine for phantom road works27 Jan 2016

Big penalties coming for firms delaying road work clear up

The government has announced plans to fine utility companies and councils up to £5,000 for phantom road works where there are restrictions are in place but no work is going on or has in fact finished.

The proposals are aimed at cutting congestion and would initially apply to A roads. Ministers are looking at:

  • encouraging 7-day working to ensure roadworks finish as quickly as possible on local ‘A’ roads
  • potentially introducing charges for those leaving road works in place, when no work is ongoing
  • looking at a new charge for those who leave temporary traffic lights in place after work has been completed, under consideration


Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Road users see red when they come across sets of temporary traffic lights that are stopping traffic but there are no workmen in sight or the work has actually finished.

“Ministers can’t stop utility companies digging up the roads but they can make firms pay the price if the work is not done swiftly and they do not tidy up after themselves.

“The road network is used relentlessly 24/7 and every one of the two million sets of road works carried out annually to repair pipes and lay cables causes disruption. Anything that can be done to keep the tailbacks to a minimum will be welcomed by Britain’s 37 million motorists.”

According to the annual ALARM survey utility firms alone dig up the roads in England and Wales more than 2 million times annually.



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org