Code of practice to speed up utility works

Less disruption on roads and pavements.

Communities will face less disruption with new standards to manage road works and speed up the installation of fibre broadband.

A national code of practice will see the standardisation of faster and more modern techniques for trench digging for improving utility services.

The development of more compact cables has seen modern techniques, such as requiring narrower holes and less excavation required, increasing the speed of delivery. The technique also safeguards the roads by reducing the need for return visits to repair failed trenches.

As well as broadband cable installation, this will mean shorter periods of disruption for power, water and gas works who use this technique.

Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, visited a Virgin Media dig to see a new broadband installation taking place and discuss the new code with the installation team.

He said:

“The Scottish Government has listened to the views of companies who tell us that narrow trenching can help companies deliver fibre broadband faster and with less disruption to communities.

“We understand that utility companies operate in a competitive market. They are therefore constantly looking for ways to improve their efficiency and to reduce their costs in order to keep ahead of their competition. This has led to innovation in how infrastructure, such as broadband, is deployed.

“We have updated the code to enable narrow trenching to take place consistently, and in a manner which protects our pavements and road network, and this has the added benefit that will result in the faster deployment of broadband across Scotland and a reduction in the disruption communities face during the roll out itself.”

Julie Agnew, Regional Director for Scotland at Virgin Media, said:

“As Virgin Media continues to invest in bringing ultrafast broadband to more areas of Scotland, this new code gives much needed clarity for networks to be built in a fast, flexible and efficient way with minimal disruption. We thank the Scottish Government for working with us and creating an environment that encourages and supports broadband builders like Virgin Media.”


The Code of Practice will come into force immediately.

Narrow trenching is any trench less than 300mm in width, commonly used to install small pieces of apparatus such as fibre cables.

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