New ‘lane rental’ scheme welcomed by motorists

New ‘lane rental’ scheme welcomed by motorists
An initiative through which utility companies pay to carry out works on busy roadways will be rolled out across England by 2019.

Following a successful trail period in south east England – firms will now have to ‘rent’ the right to dig up lanes at peak times and could be charged up to £2,500 a day.

The measure will be introduced by the Department of Transport to minimise disruption and reduce the impact of necessary roadworks on journey times.

It aims to encourage companies to carry out works together and offers incentives for completing them on quieter roads or at off-peak times.

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RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes called the announcement “very welcome”.

“Trials showed that some of the worst congestion caused by planned utility works in London was reduced by half on roads where lane rental was in operation, so rolling this out will extend the benefits nationwide,” he added.

“While motorists accept that some roadworks and congestion are unavoidable, lengthy and unnecessary queues are incredibly frustrating.

“RAC research suggests congestion on our roads and journey time reliability are growing concerns for motorists so introducing lane rental should encourage better planning and coordination of roadworks, and mean utility works are completed in a swifter, more efficient manner.”

The countrywide plans still need to be approved by transport secretary Chris Grayling, after which the Department for Transport will begin drafting bidding guidelines for authorities.

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Transport minister Jo Johnson said: ‘Drivers often see red when roadworks cause them delays, especially if no one is working on them.

“Lane rental has seen a massive drop in disruption to drivers as utility companies have changed when and where they carry out work. Now we want millions of motorists around England to get the same benefits.”

The scheme has been running since June 2012 over 56% of the London road network. It was later introduced in some areas of Kent by Kent County Council in 2013.

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.