This is a cheat repeal.
We should abolish the right for statutory undertakers to object to stopping up orders. CLG has done some good work, following the Penfold Review, to allow applications for planning permission and for orders to stop up highways to run in parallel. That has cut much delay from the delivery of development, but still leaves a significant risk.
Statutory undertakers object automatically to most proposed stopping up orders. The behaviour seems almost automatic. Often a developer can be talking to one department about the diversion of cables but those responsible for dealing with the draft order still object. That causes delay. It also imposes costs, not least as new easements are negotiated (to the extent that anything can ever be negotiated with someone with an effective ransom power).
So why not just remove the power? Utilities already have protection. They have a right to retain their equipment. The equipment cannot be interfered with without consent. If consent is needed then there will, genuinely, need to be a negotiation but not otherwise.
A repeal of the right to object would cut months off the time required for securing orders. Why not?