Lane rental roadworks scheme to reduce congestion

The government is hoping to boost the movement of commercial vehicles on England’s busy road network and reduce congestion from roadworks with plans for a Lane Rental scheme – a move that is being welcomed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

From late 2019, councils will be able to 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.

The aim is to cut down on the length of time that roads are closed or restricted due to roadworks – the charge it is hoped will encourage utilities to speed up the repair process.

“Congestion costs the UK economy £9 billion a year,” comments 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.”

A downside of the pilot schemes has been a significant increase in utility companies’ operating costs, which has seen some companies delaying planned works.

“The Department of Transport 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.”

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites, The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

Latest articles