Written Answers. - Road Works.

John Gormley

Ceist:

453 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he can list the legislation dealing with the issuing of licences to carry out road works; his views on whether this legislation needs to be updated to ensure proper co-ordination between local authorities and public and private bodies to ensure the minimum disturbance to residents and that the road is subsequently left in a proper condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8265/01]

To carry out excavations on a public road, a person or body must have the consent of the road authority or be acting under specific enabling legislation such as applies to statutory undertakers. For persons or bodies other than statutory undertakers, section 13(10) of the Roads Act, 1993, makes it an offence to excavate-open a public road without lawful authority or the consent of the road authority – such a consent may include such restrictions and conditions as the local authority thinks fit.

Section 254 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, provides for a system of licensing by planning authorities of certain appliances, cables and pipelines. This licensing would not apply to cables, wires or pipelines provided by a statutory undertaker. Regulations to bring section 254 into force are due to be brought before the Oireachtas shortly.

Section 101D of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, as inserted by the Dublin Transport Authority (Dissolution) Act, 1987, empowers prescribed road authorities to issue directions to statutory undertakers, including telecommunications operators, and others for the purposes of co-ordinating road openings and minimising traffic disruption. Such directions may specify matters such as the times at which road works are to be carried out, the period within which road works must be completed, the manner in which works are to be carried out, and requirements in relation to the control of traffic in the vicinity of road works. Under the Road Traffic (Co-ordination of Roadworks) Regulations, 1992, the main urban authorities, Dublin Corporation, South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Cork Corporation, Limerick Corporation, Waterford Corporation and Galway Corporation, were prescribed as authorities which may exercise these powers. The majority of road openings by statutory undertakers occur in the areas of these auth orities and the question of prescribing additional local authorities is being kept under review.
Section 53 of the Roads Act, 1993, also contains provisions for control of road works in relation to motorways, busways or protected roads.
The Government recently approved the drafting of the Communications (Regulation) Bill, 2000, which will,inter alia, include provisions in relation to road openings by telecom operators. These provisions will ensure that the regulatory framework, which will apply to such operators, will afford appropriate and updated powers to road authorities to regulate road openings in the public interest. I am also considering a wider legislative updating to deal with this important matter.