Memorandum submitted by the National Joint
I am writing on behalf of the National Joint
Utilities Group (NJUG)
in response to the Regulatory Reform Select Committee's call for
evidence as part of its inquiry into Getting Results: The Better
Regulation Executive and the Impact of the Regulatory Reform Agenda.
NJUG was formed in 1977 and is recognised as
the only UK industry association representing utilities on street
works issues. Our focus is on promoting: safety; the prevention
of damage to underground assets; quality and sustainability of
street works; sharing of best practice; self regulation; and a
two-way working relationship with Government, local authorities,
and other key stakeholders to minimise disruption. To further
these aims we launched NJUG's Vision for Street Works (http://www.njug.org.uk/uploads/0801_Vision.pdf)
and have been holding a number of fora around the country to promote
Many of our members are actively supporting
a number of Government sponsored projects including the 2012 Olympics
and Paralympics, and Crossrail, as well as representing utilities
in discussions with Government and other key stakeholders to seek
to ensure that any legislative or regulatory proposals are fair,
workable and do not affect the safe provision of our essential
NJUG is also the utility arm of the Highway
Authorities and Utilities Committee, known as HAUC(UK), working
collaboratively with local authorities to better standards of
road and street works in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and
The National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) and
its member companies support the efforts of the Government to
revise the regulatory system in the UK. NJUG is continually engaging
with key stakeholders to ensure that this important issue is addressed.
NJUG feels that full consideration must be given
to alternative forms of classic regulation. We welcome the stated
commitment of all major political parties to the principles of
"Better Regulation", but feel that the Government must
honour this commitment. It is NJUG's view that Governmental Departments
have failed to embrace the spirit, principles and practices presented
by the principles of better regulation, for example during the
passage of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA).
We feel Government should always fully consider
existing legislation before introducing new regulatory measures.
For instance, we were extremely disappointed by the failure of
the Government to respond to the concerns that we expressed during
the passage of the TMA, warning of replication between this Act
and the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA), which resulted
in already heavily burdened utilities being targeted.
NJUG feels that there are already excessive
and unnecessary regulatory burdens on the utilities sector. In
the area of street works alone, utilities are faced with the TMA,
Communications Act, Diversionary Works, NRSWA and LLA Bills to
name only a few. While each regulation may on its own appear eminently
sensible and not too burdensome, the cumulative effect is increasing
costs and bureaucracy for utilities, which ultimately is having
an effect on the competitiveness of UK plc, and increasing the
cost for consumers.
NJUG applauds the findings of the National Audit
Office's (NAO) report
on Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs). The report supported
NJUG's belief that there is a lack of clarity and consistent weakness
in the assessment process, and highlighted "two areas of
particular concern: costs and benefits; and monitoring and evaluation".
NJUG accepts and supports the use of effective RIAs, but stresses
the need for these to be relevant throughout the policy making
In their study of the RIA accompanying the TMA,
the NAO confirmed the view held by NJUG that a lack of effective
assessment had led to a failure to present a sufficient quantification
of cost and benefits, and consequently to demonstrate justification
for legislation in the first place. It was of further concern
to NJUG that much of the legislation carried in the TMA was a
replication of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA).
It is our belief that effective attempts to
deliver Better Regulation will be beneficial to the utilities
sector. We recognise Government efforts to streamline and simplify
regulations and support measures designed to ensure that regulation
allows greater transparency and RIAs producing comprehensive cost
/ benefit analysis.
Sufficient and justifiable cost / benefit analysis
should be the foundation of any regulation. It is NJUG's belief
that to date, such evidence has not been produced to substantiate
a number of the regulations found within the TMA, resulting in
an increase in costs that will inevitably be felt by the consumer.
Nonetheless, NJUG supports the Government's commitment to reducing
congestion and establishing a sustainable society and has therefore
committed to working in partnership with the Department for Transport
and Local Authorities to try and initiate a smooth transition
into the system introduced by the TMA.
However, NJUG is still particularly concerned
about the Government introducing further legislation, and believes
the refinement of and adherence to existing legislation and use
of non-regulatory measures is preferable to additional regulation.
It is our belief that the current system encourages Government
Ministers and officials to introduce new legislation and regulation
rather than consider self-regulation and/or non-regulatory measures.
This would appear to go against the Government's publicised commitment
to "Better Regulation", which is currently supported
by all major political parties.
NJUG would welcome the opportunity to elaborate
on these points, and to answer any queries that the Committee
may have. If the Committee's Members desire this, please do not
hesitate to contact me on 0207 340 1423 or at email@example.com.
National Joint Utilities Group Ltd
43 NJUG's current members are Energy Networks Association
(representing electricity and gas), Water UK (representing all
water and wastewater companies), National Grid, BT, Cable and
Wireless, Virgin Media and THUS plc, and our associate members
are Clancy Docwra, Skanska McNicholas, Balfour Beatty, Morrison,
Morgan Est and NACAP. Including members through trade associations,
NJUG represents 49 utility companies. Back
NAO (28/06/2006) "Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments