BORIS JOHNSON brings in a permit system for contractors today to help solve London’s roadworks “hell”.

Popular on LondonNet

“We have become one of the most roadwork-afflicted nations in the world, and it is a source of serious economic inefficiency,” said the London Mayor today, in a piece for the Daily Telegraph.

“These endless craters are eroding our air quality with the fumes of stalled traffic. 36 per cent of London traffic delays caused by roadworks.”

This track feels like it’s been trodden before, with various politicians claiming to have found the secret to solving the annoying proliferation of holes in the road, but there is some beef in Johnson’s gravy in the form of a new permit scheme.

“Together with 16 boroughs, we are launching a permit scheme, so that companies will have to apply for a time-limited permit to do their work and face tough-ish fines if they overrun,” said Johnson.

The Mayor was candid in admitting that this new scheme might not go far enough. Ultimately, he wants a “lane rental” solution under which contractors would be charged “for the time they spend digging up the road”.

Despite laying into companies that take too long to sort out their road-related problems, in a surprise twist to the tale, Johnson locates the blame for hole-digging delays at the door of 1980s PM Margaret Thatcher.

“She it was who created the privatised utilities,” said Johnson.

“She decided that these new concerns should be given every possible help… so they were given quite amazing powers to dig up the road.”