A nationwide rollout of roadworks charging must see all revenues invested back into maintaining and improving the road network for all road users.
So says the Freight Transport Assocition (FTA) following the Department for Transport announcement that it wants to extend the benefits of lane rental schemes.
Last month saw the DfT announce it was mulling extending two inaugural lane rental schemes in Kent and London, where utility companies are charged up to £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times.
Now, the DfT has said such schemes can be used nationwide and that it will produce guidance in the autumn to help councils with developing lane rental schemes for approval. The first schemes could start by the end of 2019.
The move follows a consultation last year, which saw the majority of respondents support the scheme’s rollout nationwide, with many saying they wanted to take advantage of the ‘clear benefits’ of lane rental schemes.
The London and Kent schemes, introduced in 2012 and 2013 respectively, have seen congestion on the busiest roads drop by incentivising utilities to switch to quieter roads avoid peak times. The trials in London showed that some of the worst congestion caused by planned utility works was halved. The schemes also incentivise utility firms to collaborate on works. In London utility companies have worked together more than 600 times since the scheme began in 2015, up from just 100 beforehand.
The Freight Transport Association’s head of road network management policy, Malcolm Bingham, said: “FTA is concerned about congestion on our roads, as hold-ups are a constant challenge for freight companies trying to move goods around the country.
“It is important though, that any revenue raised by extending the lane rental scheme is invested back into maintaining and improving the road network for all road users.
“We would also urge the Department for Transport to closely monitor the scheme as it is rolled-out, to review any impact it might have on the scheduling of repairs and maintenance to other key infrastructure.”