DfT:  The Government has set out proposals for a tougher inspection regime giving local councils more powers to charge utility companies for inspecting road works in their streets.  The proposals are intended to provide utility companies with a strong incentive to finish works on time.  Utility firms will not be permitted to pass the cost of these charges on to their customers.

The new inspection regime will mean that utility firms that consistently fail to keep their sites safe, or fail to replace the road surface properly, could be required to pay for additional inspections by local councils.

In addition, irresponsible firms who allow their road works to overrun will face penalties of up to £25,000 a day - a tenfold increase on the current £2,500 maximum daily charge - under plans also published for consultation.

Press release ~ The Street Works (Inspection Fees) (England) Regulations 2010 Consultation (closes on 24 May 2010) ~ Consultation on the Amendment to the Charges for Unreasonably Prolonged Occupation of the Highways (closes on 25 May 2010)

WAG:  A public consultation exercise (closes 24 May 2010) to address traffic problems in & around the communities of Caernarfon & Bontnewydd has been launched.  The Welsh Assembly Government is seeking the views & opinions of local residents to help inform any future action taken to relieve congestion and improve safety along this busy stretch of road.

A public exhibition explaining the need for the study is being held on 9 & 10 March 2010 (between 10am & 8pm) and on also 11 March (between 10am & 2pm) at the Royal Celtic Hotel in Caernarfon and on 16 March 2010 (between 10.00 & 20.00) at Canolfan Bontnewydd, The Old School, Bontnewydd.

Press release ~ A487 Caernarfon to Bontnewydd Study ~ WAG:  Roads

DfT:  A series of reforms aimed at modernising the regulation of mobility vehicles have been announced by Transport, Minister Sadiq Khan.  The proposals for consultation (closes on 28 May 2010) aim to ensure that disabled people maintain their independence, whilst increasing safety for mobility vehicle users, pedestrians & other road users.

The consultation will cover both mobility scooters (which are intended to help people with reduced mobility) and powered wheelchairs for those who need help with everyday movement.
Press release ~ Consultation on proposed changes to laws governing powered mobility vehicles ~ DfT:  Wheelchairs and mobility scooters

NICE:  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising a number of drugs as possible treatments for rheumatoid arthritis after treatment with a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor has failed.  This is a part review of NICE technology appraisal guidance 36, and a review of NICE technology appraisal guidance 126 & 141.

NICE has put its initial draft guidance on the NICE website and this is now open for public consultation until 24 March 2010.  Comments received during this consultation will be considered by the committee at its next meeting.  The next draft guidance will be issued following this meeting.
Press release ~ Adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, rituximab and abatacept for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis after the failure of a TNF inhibitor

DH:  Patients will have the chance to choose the best GP practice for them under new plans in a consultation published by Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.  At present, GPs operate within fixed geographical boundaries that can be restrictive and severely reduce patients’ choice of the practice they register with, especially for those patients living in poorer areas.

The consultation (closes on 28 May 2010) is seeking views on a wide range of proposals, in particular around the issues involved in arranging home visits, co-ordination of community based services, safeguarding access for local residents and access to hospital & specialist treatment.
Press release ~ Your choice of GP Practice: A consultation on how to enable people to register with the GP practice of their choice ~ NHS Choices – Find a GP

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