Barnet Council has come up with a plan to stop roadworks clogging up the borough.

The council’s utilities and highways charter aims to ensure works carried out by utilities firms and other organisations on the roads network are managed and co-ordinated effectively.

According to a council report, an average of 35,000 sets of roadworks are permitted in the borough every year – 1.75 per cent of all annual roadworks conducted across the United Kingdom.

But when works are not co-ordinated in an effective and efficient way, the highway network can quickly become overloaded and congested, the report adds.

The charter – a draft version of which was approved by the council’s environment committee on Wednesday – aims to avoid this by forming a “voluntary alliance and professional understanding between the council and contractors operating on the highway network”.

Chairman Cllr Dean Cohen (Conservative, Golders Green) said he had asked officers to bring the charter to the committee because the felt the council did not have any oversight of what utilities firms were doing on the roads network.

Robert Marchand, operations director at Re Highways, told the committee: “The aim of the charter is to bring together the key statutory undertakers to…sign up to an agreed approach to address issues that are raised in terms of congestion, pollution, collaboration, so we can minimise disruption and minimise the amount of works that are actually on the network.”

Aims set out in the charter include completing work at the first attempt to avoid multiple visits, giving advance warning of temporary traffic lights and complying with the duration of works permitted.

There are also aims around effective communication, complying with inspection codes and minimising the impact of works on the environment of the borough.

A recommendation to approve the draft version of the charter for an informal consultation was unanimously approved by the committee.

Labour councillors voted against a second recommendation to allow the final version of the charter to be agreed by environment chief Geoff Mee and Cllr Cohen, arguing that it should be approved by the committee in a public forum.

Responding to the concerns, Cllr Cohen said the committee had been invited to scrutinise the draft version of the charter. Cllr Peter Zinkin (Conservative, Childs Hill) added that if there was a material change to the charter, he expected the committee would be told about it.

Conservative committee members voted in favour of the second recommendation.