New Code of Practice instated in Scotland

A new Code of Practice, commissioned by the Scottish Government, will ensure civil engineering projects across the country conform to a new technical standard of “narrow trenching” to speed up the process of rolling out fibre broadband internet networks.

“Narrow trenching” will ensure that trenches are dug with widths less than 300mm, with the changes taking place as part of Section 130 of the New Road and Street Works Act 1991.

It has been noted that this particular technique is useful in that it creates less disruptive road works, is cheaper to dig and refill, and is overall a faster method when it comes to deploying ultra-fast broadband.

Although it has only just been instated as part of a new Code of Practice, “narrow trenching” and similar methods of “slot cutting” and “micro trenching” have already been widely used by engineering contractors for its efficiency and effectiveness.

Scottish Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, commented: “The Scottish Government has listened to the views of companies who tell us that narrow trenching can help companies 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.”

Adding to this, Regional Director for Scotland at Virgin Media, Julie Agnew, said: “…this new code gives much-needed clarity for networks to be built in a fast, flexible and efficient way with minimal disruption. We thank the Scottish Government for working with us and creating an environment that encourages and supports broadband builders”.