A CRACKDOWN on roadworks in Worcestershire has been endorsed by the county council's leadership today - easing the frustration for drivers.

A new 'permit' scheme, which means utility firms must pay to secure agreement before digging up the roads, has been given the backing of the Conservative cabinet.

Politicians say the project, which will launch in the autumn of 2015, "won't be welcomed by the utility companies" but needs to be introduced after years of gripes from motorists.

As your Worcester News revealed on Tuesday, the permits will mean the council can enforce a raft of stipulations for bodies doing roadwork and fine them for breaches.

The council will be free to refuse the permit, or order it to start on a different date to avoid gridlock if it clashes with other project.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "This will help our 'open for business' agenda - we know the public have concerns over traffic congestion, particularly in urban areas.

"To try and control it seems sensible.

"I am sure it will be welcomed by the public, even if it won't be by the utility companies."

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "The prime objective is to enable the authority to better maintain and manage the roads.

"Charges will be effective with this, we hope it can be used to support the additional costs of the scheme and help us to maintain and support what's going on."

The permits will come with a raft of conditions specified by the council, which could include weekend and night working.

An organisation must purchase a permit from the council before starting a scheme, and secure the authority's agreement on the time and length of the work.

Around 12,000 highways and street works take place in Worcestershire a year, many by bodies like BT, Severn Trent and the Environment Agency.

Work to design the scheme, including the permit costs, will kick off in August and the council is planning to then get approval on those details from the Department for Transport.

Subject to consultation it will launch from October 2015.