PERMITS could be introduced by BCP Council in a move aimed at giving better oversight of utility companies' roadworks.

The proposal will be considered by its cabinet next week with councillors being asked to approve the start of a consultation on the idea.

A report published ahead of Wednesday's meeting says the scheme would allow better control and planning of roadworks and reduce disruption to drivers.

Plans for the scheme follow a government demand that all local authorities with road maintenance responsibilities introduce permits by the end of March 2020.

The Department for Transport estimated that the 2.5 million roadwork projects taking place each year were costing the economy £4 billion.

Under the planned permit system, utility companies would no longer be able to only notify the council of works and instead have to arrange times with it.

The cabinet report says: “The objective of introducing local permit schemes is to positively control roadworks-related activities on all streets that could otherwise cause increased disruption.

“They achieve this by allowing better coordination and planning of activities, leading to reduced congestion and the realisation of associated social, economic and environmental benefits.”

Fees charged for permits would only be allowed to cover the cost of administering the scheme and the report says the new system is likely to require the employment of new staff.

The cost is expected to range from £45 for minor works on smaller roads up to £240 for more significant projects.

“This is a positive step towards reducing disruption, congestion and pollution on the highway network,” cabinet member for transport, councillor Andy Hadley, said.

“This scheme will give us better control over what’s going on, enabling us to coordinate, manage and plan street works across all our key routes.

“It will also give the council greater power in holding those who carry out the works on our highways to account if they run over on time.”

The cabinet will be asked to approve plans to put the scheme out for consultation when it meets on Wednesday.