Charities want to rip up road works rulebook

Road works web

It’s time to recognise the inconvenience to pedestrians

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26th January 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Two Scottish charities are campaigning for changes on the way road works are carried out.

Living Streets Scotland and Paths for All, which both champion walking, are campaigning for contractors to be made to place a greater emphasis on pedestrians when blocking pavements during road works rather than drivers.

They have made a four-point list of recommendations which includes creating a considerate contractor register and a centralised hotline for people to call to make a complaint.

If people cannot safely walk or cycle then they will just get in the car instead and that isn’t in anyone’s interests.

They are also calling for companies which carry out shoddy work to be forced to pick up the tab for any repairs needed after the work is inspected by qualified council workers.

The charities launched their campaign after Scottish minister for transport Derek Mackay announced a review of the work carried out by the Scottish Road Works Commissioner.

A survey was launched at the start of January and ministers are due to discuss the findings before a report is presented to Mr MacKay in March.

Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “In the past the focus has always been on the motorist and potential disruption to car journeys posed by road works.

“But this review is a fantastic opportunity to make sure that in future pedestrians are given much more thought. Put simply if people cannot safely walk or cycle then they will just get in the car instead and that isn’t in anyone’s interests.

“Ministers have the chance to make sure many more people’s chances of enjoying the benefits of regular walking are not blighted by poorly finished work and that is a great shame.”

The two charities also want better use made of a national register of road works to make sure the same stretches of roads are not dug up repeatedly by different utility firms.

For the past eight years they have been helping community groups across Scotland to carry out audits of the streets where they live. The groups are asked to identify barriers that prevent people from walking, including street furniture and signs blocking pavements during roadworks.

Paths for All chief officer Ian Findlay added: “Well managed and maintained streets are critical to getting Scotland more active.

“A more coordinated, multi-agency approach to the safety and wellbeing of pedestrians and cyclists is needed to improve the quality of the walking and cycling environment. Improved planning and delivery of road works is critical in this context.”