I am today (26 January, 2013) publishing the outcome of the government’s consultation on proposals to allow trials of lane rental schemes to be undertaken by a small number of ‘pioneer’ local authorities. Lane rental would involve the local authority applying a daily charge where street works obstruct traffic at the busiest times, providing a clear financial incentive for works to be carried out in less disruptive ways.
The government is now inviting applications from authorities wishing to operate ‘pioneer’ schemes. The guidance I am publishing today makes clear that the government is prepared to approve up to three such schemes, in areas where the local authority has already sought to achieve the desired effect through other means, including through a road works permit scheme. Lane rental charges would need to be targeted on those streets where works cause the greatest disruption, and would need to provide a genuine opportunity for works promoters to avoid charges by carrying out their works at less disruptive times. Evidence from the performance of the ‘pioneer’ schemes will inform future decisions on whether lane rental should play a wider role. Any revenues raised from lane rental will have to be used for purposes that will help to reduce the disruption caused by works - for example research and development into disruption-saving techniques and technologies.
The guidance and other documents are now being published on the Department for Transport’s website, and I will be laying the necessary regulations before Parliament shortly.