Charges under London’s lane rental scheme are to be amended from May and the scheme will be expanded and include footways for the first time.
Transport for London’s (TfL) scheme allows the transport authority to charge utility companies and infrastructure providers a daily fee for digging up the busiest sections of the capital’s roads at the busiest times.
The changes, which also include incentives for high safety standards, have already been approved by the Department for Transport.
TfL said they will make roadworks more efficient and reduce the disruption faced when pavements and cycle routes are blocked by roadworks and help protect bus service reliability.
It added that they will also help it deliver the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury on the transport network.
Glynn Barton, TfL’s director of network management, said: ’London’s road network plays an absolutely vital role in keeping the capital moving and this has become more apparent than ever over the last year, with our pavements in particular playing a key role in enabling safer walking journeys.
‘We recognise the hugely important job done by utility companies and we’ve worked closely with the industry to develop these changes to our pioneering scheme, which will boost safety standards and make a real difference to everyone using our road network, including people walking and cycling.’
TfL said the changes follow a review of the scheme’s successes and analysis of how it could continue to support London’s economy and cut congestion in future.
The changes include:
- Introducing a charge of £350 per day for works that impact on the busiest areas of footway in the capital.
- Expanding the lane rental network to cover 69% of the TfL Road Network (red routes) – an increase from the 56% currently covered
- Reducing the length of charging periods to incentivise more off-peak work, with the maximum hours reducing to 06:30 – 20:00 rather than from 06:30 – 22:00 and shorter charging periods applying in many other areas
- Providing ‘substantial’ discounts to companies who commit to improving their roadworks infrastructure and those that pass safety checks
- Increasing the low band charge to £1,000 per day (roads covered by the scheme are divided into bands based on how busy the roads are, and the low band charge is currently set at £800 per day)
- Introducing a new middle band charge of £1,500 per day, which TfL said ‘offsets a higher proportion of streets previously charged out at the maximum £2,500 per day’
TfL said that since lane rental was introduced in 2012, there has been a 65% increase in different companies working at the same site, at the same time, and a 30% rise in planned utility works at night.
More than £20m of cash from charges has been allocated to date to 75 schemes that aim to improve how roadworks are carried out. These include mapping below-ground utility services, robotic technology, training to promote efficiency in on-site working practices and establishing a pilot Infrastructure Co-ordination Service at city hall.