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Utilities in Enfield Trench Share

Published Thursday, 14 February 2013

Enfield Council has successfully persuaded two utility companies to simultaneously use the same hole in the ground to carry out network maintenance in a unique trench sharing scheme believed to be the first of its kind in London.

UKPN and National Grid Gas both wanted to carry out improvement work in Monmouth Road , Enfield , earlier this year and were encouraged by Enfield Council to work in the same place at the same time.

The two companies not only agreed to share the same 100 metre trench to renew their cables but also shared barriers and traffic management - reducing the disruption to residents and road users.

Work also took half the time it would have done if the work had been carried out independently and in-sequence, and saved the road from being dug up in the same place twice.

Enfield Council realises that local authorities are the only bodies able to encourage joint working regarding road works and has been looking to remove the obstacles and risks utilities could face under street works legislation and practices if they work together. The Council has also looked for ways of removing the obstacles to utility companies where it was in the interests of residents and road users.

The system Enfield Council has developed means one utility company takes overall responsibility for the works under the permit. But because that utility or contractor could suffer because of the poor performance of the other, some utility companies have raised concerns about being fined for over-running road works, unsatisfactory repairs at the end of the work and responsibility to pay fixed penalty notices if any aspect of the work was unacceptable.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "The benefits of joint working between utility companies for residents and road users are amazing and we are looking to encourage this practice wherever we can.

"We are committed to promoting this way of working wherever we can and have made it considerably easier for companies to work together by removing some of the obstacles they may face; we also remove the permit fees if joint working is planned.

"It is in everyone's interest to work smarter and this is just one of a number of innovative ways we are working with the utility companies to reduce the disruption caused by essential maintenance work they carry out."

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