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Cut Roadwork Delays By Charging To Dig Up Roads, Government Says

Government says reduce misery for motorists by charging roadwork companies that dig up busy streets at busy times

Lane Rental Scheme benefits

The London & Kent Lane Rental Scheme that permits councils to charge utility firms to dig up the busiest streets should be extended nationally to encourage a work ethic that cuts delay, stress, and cost for long suffering motorists, the Government says. 

The scheme – the proposed expansion of which is subject to public consultation until October 28th 2017 – has been successfully trialled in the aforementioned locations in recent years, the Government believes. Its role is to encourage utility companies to:

  • reduce the time taken to complete work
  • coordinate their efforts with other firms to minimise the requirement to repeatedly disrupt the same routes
  • carry out a higher proportion of work outside peak hours
  • complete work to the required standard first time

Utility companies avoid the charges by working evenings, weekends or coordinating their plans. Such measures ensure fewer motorists boil with frustration, arrive late and waste expensive fuel while barely moving. In London, for example, utility companies now work alongside each other much more frequently than prior to the scheme. 

Martin Tett, Spokesperson for the Local Government Association, welcomes the proposed expansion. He argues: "It is crucial that councils are given these powers. They can ensure critical roadworks are carried out as quickly as possible. The sooner councils are allowed to get on top of this problem the better”, Mr Tett reveals.

Roadworks impede economy

The disruption caused by roadworks does far more than irritate motorists and waste time. There is a measurable, significant, impact on the economy. The Government calculates that the 2.5 million roadworks carried out per-annum cost the nation £4 billion.

It makes motorists late for work, for example. This increases stress and reduces productivity. Deliveries are late, too. Such things cost businesses money so there is less to spend on expansion, advertising, expertise, supplies, premises and vehicles.

The impact of such losses ripple through the whole economy. The Government, in turn, receives less income from taxation which makes it harder to (say) pay for initiatives that make the roads safer.

Transport Secretary champions scheme expansion

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling explains: “Delays caused by roadworks can be the bane of drivers’ lives – especially when they take place at rush hour on busy routes.”

“These proposals would give councils greater powers to ensure utility companies avoid carrying out works at the busiest times and on the most popular routes.”

Mr Grayling concludes: “This would not only improve journeys and cut congestion but also save businesses from the increased costs they incur as a result of traffic on our roads.”