Street Works UK slams Lane Rental 'scope creep'

14/04/2021
Chris Ames

The trade body that represents the utilities industry over street works has accused councils of 'straying' from the original intentions of the Government's Lane Rental scheme.

Lane rental schemes allow highway authorities to charge utility firms up to £2,500 per day for carrying out street works on busy roads at peak times.

Writing on the organisation’s website, Clive Bairsto, chief executive of Street Works UK, said that although the Department for Transport (DfT) had issued guidance, ‘some local schemes have, frankly, strayed from what one would imagine –and each of us as tax-payers might hope –as being the Government’s original purpose for Lane Rental; an intent to remove and reduce traffic congestion’.

Mr Bairsto said: ‘Infrastructure projects to help future-proof the UK economy, such as super-fast broadband and upgrades to the electricity networks to allow for increased electric car usage, will all require street works. That is because these pipes and wires mostly run quietly under our nation’s roads in a complex web of hidden connectivity.’

He added: ‘As a result, poorly thought out Lane Rental schemes will add costs, skew well-thought-through plans, and obstruct in such a way that they could be a significant drag on upgrading Britain’s towns and cities, slowing down progress and adding additional unnecessary cost burdens.’

Mr Bairsto said that some authorities have decided to apply Lane Rental charges to public footpaths, pointing out that the DfT’s guidance explicitly excludes works on footpaths from Lane Rental charges, except where a footpath closure requires the provision of a safe route for pedestrians, which impacts a carriageway directly.

He said: ‘We believe that potential scope creep of Lane Rental schemes around footpaths will lead to escalating costs for utilities and ultimately impact customers without reducing congestion one iota.’

In February Transport for London, which ran one of two lane rental pilot schemes, said it would amend its charges from May, expanding the scheme and including footways for the first time.

Another area where Mr Bairsto said schemes should follow DfT guidance is in covering no more than 5% of an authority’s road network, focused on the most traffic sensitive roads and backed up by clear data.

He pointed to last year’s Vision for Street and Road Works, which he said would allow utilities and local authorities to ‘seamlessly work together to deliver public benefits'.

He added it would 'realise the UK’s full potential by drawing on innovative practice and embracing greater digitalisation' instead of being 'hamstrung by schemes that add obfuscation with no benefit to decongestion’.

Highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

£34,728 - £38,890 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Highways & Flooding team for an experienced Senior Traffic Engineer. Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)
Recruiter: Monmouthshire County Council

Director of Place

£82,200
Mid Devon is a beautiful predominantly rural district, with rolling hills and valleys, picturesque villages and attractive market towns Tiverton, Devon
Recruiter: Mid Devon District Council

Assistant Director Route to Zero Carbon

£77,046 - £95,230
As you coordinate and implement a series of projects and programme to reduce carbon emissions... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Principal Environmental Health Officer

£41,952 - £48,663
To be considered for this post you be a qualified Environmental Health Officer with a certificate of registration issued by the... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer / Graduate Environmental Health Officer

£34,033 - £43,659
This role follows a period of growth and the renewal of our borough-wide additional HMO licensing scheme. Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Transport Projects Officer

£32,418 - £37,722 pa
Your role will involve developing, implementing and monitoring various transport projects as part of multidisciplinary project teams. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Senior Engineer (Network Management)

£43,860 - £46,839 pa
Join us as a Senior Engineer (Network Management), and you’ll contribute to the development and implementation of... Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Highways Director

£92,402 to £101,644 per annum
As the Highways Director, you will lead and deliver the transformation of the Highways Division, to effectively... Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Environment & Transport Director

£92,402 - £101,644 per annum
As the Environment and Transport Director you will lead a dynamic and challenging set of services, covering... Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Principal Local Engineer

£35,745 - £43,857
The Principal Local Engineer role is to provide service at principal level to deliver Local Engineering duties Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Transport Development Officer

£39,880 to £43,857
This new and exciting role will be pivotal in helping deliver the implementation of change associated with our response to the National Bus Strategy. North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Waste Collection Operative - Loaders / HGV Drivers (Hays Recruitment)

Competitive Salary
Hays are excited to be working in partnership with Chelmsford City Council who are always looking to expand their teams and are looking for... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Commercial Vehicle Technician

£30,000 per annum
Responsibilities as our Commercial Vehicle Technician will include... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Climate Change Project Support Officer

£30,451 - £32,234 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to support for the development and delivery of the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Corporate Fleet & Transport Manager

£65,382 - £68,898 Per annum
To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life. London (Greater)
Recruiter: Islington London Borough Council

Senior Pest Control Officer

£34,209 - £36,708 p.a. inc.
You will need to be a self-starter and have a 'can do approach' to service delivery and problem solving. Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Nuisance Control Officer

£36,708- £42,855 inc. plus £4,800 shift allowance p.a
We are looking for a proactive and committed person with a strong customer focus, exceptional communication skills and a practical approach to... Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Development Control)

£32,910 - £35,745 per annum
You will need to have political awareness and good communication and negotiation skills, as well as experience of working with elected members. Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Head of Traffic & Capital Delivery

£56,100 - £63,633 per annum
We are looking for a Head of Traffic and Capital Delivery to join us at this critical time for Hounslow. Reporting to... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Flood Risk Project Manager

£30,451 to £32,910
We are looking for a Flood Risk Managers to lead on the development and progression of our Flood Management Scheme, identifying and... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Revealed: Legal costs on the rise

Also Inside:

  • In memoriam: Steve Berry – a highways hero
  • Carbon knowledge is power
View the latest issue

Latest Video