Utility companies who dig up London’s busiest roads now face daily charges of up to £2,500 after a new Lane Rental scheme came into operation.
From today companies who dig up road lanes during the busiest parts of the day will have to pay a fee to Transport for London who will use 270 Traffic-trained Police Community Support Officers to monitor roadworks.
The scheme operates on the majority of roads controlled by TfL and covers those areas “most susceptible to major roadwork disruption.”
The aim is to encourage firms to carry out more work outside of peak hours.
Money raised through the scheme will fund a research project set up by the Department for Transport and TfL to develop new technology to reduce disruption caused by road works.
Announcing the scheme’s start Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said: “Four years ago we declared war on the disruptive roadworks that drive motorists nuts, are bad for our buses and a source of serious economic inefficiency, and I am pleased to say we have already made some significant advances. Since battle commenced in earnest with the introduction of our permitting scheme in 2010 disruption is down 40 per cent.
“Lane rental is a vital addition to our arsenal. Setting the meter running the moment the first cone appears will finally make utilities understand the full economic cost of their work. It will encourage companies to work round the clock, team up and share trenches or develop new technology to speed up their work. Lane rental will keep traffic moving, and promote peace on our roads.”
Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said he hoped the scheme “will encourage those who need to do road works to get them finished faster as well as reducing disruption for those using London’s roads and I look forward to seeing the results of this project.”
The Labour group on the London Assembly has welcomed the scheme’s launch but say TfL has missed its own target date of Spring 2012.
Val Shawcross, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson on the Assembly, said “it is important that TfL doesn’t allow companies to try and get round this by encroaching onto pavements instead, we will be keeping a close eye on this and expect the Mayor to do the same.”