Workers who dig up roads will be tested every five years to ensure their skills and training are up to date, under new government proposals.
Transport minister Rosie Wintertonunveiled the plans which are aimed at helping reduce disruption on the roads by ensuring more work is done correctly the first time round.
The government estimates that it costs £14m a year to repair sub-standard work, along with other associated costs, such as congestion.
From 2010, those carrying out road works in England will have to pass a test at an approved assessment centre every five years. At the moment, qualified staff simply have to complete a re-registration form and pay a fee to remain on the Street Work Qualifications Register.
“The reassessment process for workers I am unveiling today will mean workers and supervisors will have to keep up to date with the latest techniques and best practice if they are to remain qualified,” Winterton said.
From 1 April, councils will be able to insist that utility companies give longer notice periods before starting road works – making it possible to prevent multiple works from taking place in the same area at the same time.
The new proposals would also introduce new qualifications for workers and supervisors involved in the signing, lighting and guarding of road works.