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Operators in slimming regime

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Plant operators will have to excavate narrower trenches under new rules launched by the Scottish Government.

A national code of practice that comes into effect this week will see the standardisation of faster and more modern techniques for digging utilities trenches. It is designed to better manage road works and to accelerate the installation of fibre broadband.

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

The new approach should mean mean shorter periods of disruption for power, water and gas works who use the technique.

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Digging trenches on a Virgin Media site.

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Connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse said the Government had listened to companies who said slimmer trenching could help 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.”

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

The Code of Practice comes into force immediately.

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 3/6/2019