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"( ) In section 57 of that Act (notice of emergency works)
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(a) in subsection (1) after "works)" there is inserted "or paragraph 2(1)(d) or 3(1) of Schedule 3A (notification of proposed works or directions as to timings of works)";
(b) in subsection (2) after "is" there is inserted "(or would, but for paragraph 2(6) of Schedule 3A, be)".
( ) In section 64 of that Act (traffic-sensitive streets) in subsection (1) after "works)" there is inserted "or paragraph 2 of Schedule 3A".
( ) In section 74 of that Act (charge for occupation of highway where works unreasonably prolonged) in subsection (3)(b) after "date)" there is inserted "or notification under paragraph 2(1)(d) of Schedule 3A (notification of proposed works)".
( ) In section 88 of that Act (provisions relating to bridges) in subsection (4) after "date)" there is inserted ", or making a notification under paragraph 2(1)(d) of Schedule 3A (notification of proposed works),".
( ) In section 89 of that Act (provisions relating to sewers) in subsection (2) after "date)" there is inserted ", or making a notification under paragraph 2(1)(d) of Schedule 3A (notification of proposed works),"."
Schedule 3A provides that if an authority intends to restrict the carrying out of further works in a particular street, it must publish a notice informing undertakers. Such a notice can also require the undertaker to notify the authority if it wishes to carry out works in that street before the restriction takes effect. This means that the normal requirement for the undertaker to send a notice of the starting date of any of its forthcoming works to the authority under Section 55 of the 1991 Act is replaced by noticing requirements under Schedule 3A.
Under the 1991 Act, a number of other actions need to be carried out in combination with the sending of a notice under Section 55. The amendment makes a number of consequential amendments to provide that these other actions also need to be carried out in relation to the notices required to be given by the undertaker under Schedule 3A. The amendment makes consequential amendments to the following parts of the 1991 Act: Section 57 (emergency works); Section 64 (traffic sensitive streets); Section 74 (charging for overrunning works); Section 88 (works affecting bridges); and Section 89 (works affecting sewers).
Under Schedule 3A, undertakers that want to carry out works before a restriction should notify the authority. Amendment No. 76 widens the power to prescribe the notification requirements so that the form and information contained in such notification can be prescribed as well as the manner of the notification.
Amendment No. 77 clarifies that the replacement of the Section 55 noticing arrangements with those under Schedule 3A relates to works which begin in the period between the deadline set by the authority for notifying it of works and the completion of all those works set
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out under paragraph 3(1)(a) of the schedule. Other works will remain subject to the Section 55 arrangements.
Schedule 3A provides that in certain cases it is a criminal offence to carry out works before the restriction comes into force, where these are not notified to the authority or where they are carried out in defiance of a direction from the authority. The Bill provides that certain prescribed works could be carried out in this way without constituting an offencefor example, emergency works.
"( ) Section 55 does not apply in relation to works in the part of the highway specified under sub-paragraph (1)(c) that are begun between the end of the notice period and completion of the works referred to in paragraph 3(1)(a) to (c).
This sub-paragraph does not apply to cases prescribed under paragraph 3(6)(b)."
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope that we may be able to hear a little more on how the Government's thinking has moved since Committee in conjunction with the thinking of the many committees working on the regulations. I am very fond of beautiful new tarmac. I bicycle into work most days, and the little holes and dips are extremely inconvenient. I have not yet been thrown off, but I shall be one day, thanks to Lambeth and its cohorts. Therefore, I am all in favour of smooth roads, but none the less if someone wants a utility connection, that should be allowed, even though the road has just been redone. I beg to move.
I emphasise that Schedule 3A already allows regulations to allow certain types of work to be carried out during a restriction period. We have asked a working group on utilities and authorities to consider what exemptions should be allowed for.
Existing regulations providing equivalent powers for restrictions after substantial road works set out exemptions for urgent works, and also for customer connections which it was not practicable to carry out
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before the restriction began. No decision has yet been taken on what exemptions it would be sensible to allow for in relation to this new power.
We believe that it would be sensible to retain flexibility to provide for exemptions in secondary legislation so that initial decisions can be taken in the light of expert advice and public consultation, and so that if it proved necessary, particular categories of works could be added to or taken away from the list of exemptions in the future. We are seeking to maintain a degree of flexibility on this. I hope that in the light of those comments the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
There is to my mind a rather more serious question involved here. I think we all agree that liability should be placed on people who dig up the road to put it back nicely. I do not think that any of us are arguing against that. It is a question of whether we can put utilities in a position where they can quantify the liability, ideally at the time when they are doing the installation, so that they can make a proper charge to the customer, certainly within a reasonable time limit, and can provide properly in their balance sheets for this liability. I beg to move.
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