The Government has announced the roll out a Lane Rental scheme on England’s roads in a bid to reduce congestion from roadworks.
From late 2019, councils can charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day to work on the busiest roads at peak times. This follows pilot schemes running in London and Kent, since 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“Congestion costs the UK economy £9 billion a year,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett. “So the Government, councils and highways authorities need to think creatively about how to tackle it.
“The road network is clogged-up and in a poor state of repair, and has suffered as a result of continual under-investment and short-term thinking. We urge authorities to reinvest all surplus Lane Rental revenues in high-quality road improvement schemes to help make the network fit for purpose.”
The scheme has significantly increased utility companies’ operating costs in the pilot scheme areas which has seen a worrying development as some companies have delayed planned works.
“DfT reports that some utility companies have waited until infrastructure has needed repairing to avoid incurring the extra costs as emergency works don’t incur charges,” Richard Burnett continued.
“This isn’t a good sign and certainly flies against the move to encourage contractors to plan and synchronise their work schedules to reduce disruption to road users; so this needs managing very carefully.
“The last thing we need is more unplanned roadworks.”