Pathways to impact video and podcast
Posted on October 17th, 2011
In March 2011 the Mapping the Underworld team hosted an awareness raising workshop to scope how the dissemination of the research carried out by the Mapping the Underworld programme could be further extended to not only the practitioners responsible for locating and implementing the repair and replacement of underground assets but also MPs, highway and traffic management officers and councillors involved in local government to represent the views of their councils, residents and businesses.
Click here to listen to a podcast interview with Dr Nicole Metje, who led this initiative.
The workshop discussions highlighted a number of differing perceptions and expectations of current practice:
- The lack of a common source of accurate data was a frustration expressed several times, as was the perception that poor communication and information sharing remained a problem; although this is beginning to be addressed.
- Across the country different approaches are taken by local authorities. Kent County Council and some London authorities use a permit scheme to coordinate streetworks. Such a scheme currently requires Department for Transport permission.
- The indirect costs of streetworks disruption, particularly when problems arise as a result of inaccurate location need to be taken into account. Repeated, uncoordinated works were a particular frustration for council officer and councillors.
- The owners of the assets need to be involved alongside the contractors, professional networks and local authorities in finding the right solutions to the problems.
- Communication is essential between all parties with an interest along with an understanding of the impact that excessive excavations can have on the industry, other businesses, commuters and local authorities when underground assets cannot be accurately located.
- Coordination and collaboration can be inconsistent and needs to be improved.
- Both the direct and the indirect costs of excavations are of importance when considering the impact of streetworks on the UK economy and the benefits of any potential solutions.
- There are significant issues, challenges and costs arise as the result of different and variable approaches to the location and excavation of buried assets.
- The inability to gather and share data and other information is a major concern.
- Information should be easily and readily available to residents and local businesses on the extent of the works planned.
- There were differing views on whether further regulation is required.