Coalition proposes road maintenance charges for utility firms

by William ASTON on August 22, 2011

Proposals to charge all utility companies in the event that they dig up roads during peak times in England will be put forward by members of the coalition government in what is a new national consultation.

Ministers are proposing that any company that carries out roadworks at busy peak times must pay councils for renting the road space.

Charges will be altogether avoided by carrying out any work during much quiter periods, particularly at night - if appropriate.

As the new 12-week consultation is about to begin, the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said that such disruption is always “expensive”.

Everyone’s aware of how frustrating it is when you are stuck in a traffic jam and unable to get into work or drop your kids off at school because a company is digging up the roads, Hammond said.

This kind of disruption is costly while also being a major inconvenience, with some estimates valuing losses to the economy at £4bn a year, he continued. This is something that we simply cannot allow to happen, especially during times of austerity measures, it was added.

The Department for Transport has published a consultation, as well as draft guidance to all councils, with an outline of how lane rental schemes might be implemented. According to sources, it has been proposed that the schemes should initially be trialled in one urban area and a non-metropolitan area too.

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