A lane rental scheme to help reduce disruption caused by road works on London’s busiest roads has been given the go-ahead by transport secretary Justine Greening.
The Transport for London (TfL) scheme - the first of its kind in Britain - will start in June. TfL will be able to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day to dig up the busiest roads during peak times when road works cause the most disruption.
It is hoped the scheme will incentivise utility firms to carry out their works more quickly and at times when roads are quieter. Companies can avoid the charges by carrying out works during less busy periods or, if appropriate, at night.
In order to gather evidence on the effectiveness of lane rental, the Department for Transport has proposed that there should be up to three pioneer areas and is inviting applications from two more interested local authorities. Successful pioneer areas will need to have exhausted other options, including using a permit scheme and their lane rental schemes will have to be evaluated annually.
The guidance which accompanies the new powers makes it clear that lane rental charges must be avoidable and proportionate to the costs of congestion. Any revenue raised from the implementation of lane rental charges will have to be used to fund measures which could help to reduce future road works disruption. This could include infrastructure work, research or measures to improve the management of works.