Minister launches new book showing the way to reduce street works headaches

Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 8:51AM

A new book published by Energy Networks Association (ENA) has shown the way for all those who dig up the road how they can reduce the disruption by working together more effectively.  

The book, Partnering: Leading transformational and cultural change has been written by Richard Wakelen of UK Power Networks and Roger Williams of East Sussex County Council. It shows how this was the first partnership of its kind developed in the UK between a local authority, a utility and their respective contractors. Together they solved the challenges brought about by new legislation relating to road and street works. It recounts how these two men overcame the natural antagonism that exists between local authorities and utilities and developed a spirit of partnership that was backed up with real relationship change.  

Launching the book in Westminster this Thursday (24 February), Transport Minister Norman Baker MP will say: “I warmly applaud the spirit of partnership that lies behind this book. It illustrates effectively how strong working relationships between utility companies and highway authorities can make a positive difference to road users, including pedestrians. It shows there is already much good work being taken forward by the sector, and provides a welcome antidote to the simplistic view that more regulation, by itself, will deliver the changes that are needed. I commend the Energy Networks Association’s initiative in publishing this book, and hope that it will receive wide circulation.”  

Richard Wakelen will say: “The partnership has delivered many benefits to residents in East Sussex and all four organisations involved; UK Power Networks, East Sussex County Council, Murphy Limited and May Gurney. It shows how partnering and working together with clarity, commitment and trust, can make a real impact; put simply it makes streets works work.”  

Roger Williams will say: “We know road works that are carried out by utility companies and local authorities are frustrating for people, but they are necessary and people do have to put up with them from time to time.“These types of works mean people enjoy a safe and reliable supply of gas, electricity and water, for example. But what residents and visitors don’t see, are the conflicting demands associated with digging up the roads. There are more than 200 local authorities trying to keep traffic moving freely, and at the same time, around 50 utility companies trying to maintain and extend their networks.   “We’ve heard some horror stories about poorly coordinated work and unnecessary delays, and they do nothing to improve the public’s perception of us. So, we took the opportunity to challenge the status quo and come up with a new and innovative way of doing things.”  

David Smith Chief Executive of ENA will say: “Given the political interest and social impact of increasing traffic congestion at a time of continuing investment by utilities and local authorities on essential works in the highway, it is refreshing to read the story of how two people decided to do something new and innovative to meet these challenges. We are proud to publish this book.”  

The book is being published and launched with support from sponsors, UK Power Networks, May Gurney, Murphy Limited, Enzen and the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG).  


Notes to editors  

1. A pdf of the book can be downloaded from here.  

2. The event is taking place on Great George Street, Westminster, London and any journalists wishing to attend should contact [email protected].  

3. ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.  

For further information please contact:  
Tim Field, Press and Public Affairs Executive  
Energy Networks Association  
E: [email protected]  
T: +44 (0)207 706 5157  
M: +44 (0)7725 372 758