London roadworks lane rental scheme finally goes ahead

This has been a long time in the coming - TfL have been pushing for it for years!

TfL press release:

Archived URL will be:

Selected extracts...

*Green light for London to charge utility companies who dig at the busiest times and cause congestion*

Transport for London introduces targeted and avoidable charge for digging up Capital's most congested areas.
London has become the first city in the UK to charge utility companies for the amount of time that they dig up the Capital's busiest roads.
From today onwards TfL is able to charge utility firms up to £2,500 a day for working in congested areas and at busy times of the day.

The scheme covers over 200 miles (57 per cent) of the TfL road network, covering the areas most susceptible to major roadwork disruption.

TfL is not exempt from the rules and the new scheme will also ensure that their works are delivered with minimal disruption.

Currently, around 70 per cent of TfL works are carried out outside of peak hours, compared to around 20 per cent of utility works.
By encouraging companies to carry out their work overnight or during off-peak hours, all road users - including drivers, cyclists and bus passengers - will benefit from more reliable journey times and less disruption.

More than 270 Metropolitan Police Service Traffic-trained Police Community Support Officers, who are funded by TfL and patrol the TfL roads on a daily basis, will play a key role in monitoring works under the Lane Rental scheme.

Together with TfL officials, they will monitor roadworks to ensure promoters are working during operational hours and take any action required should they spot bad practices by the companies responsible for the works.

Any additional revenue raised by the scheme once operating costs have been recovered will be put towards measures that could reduce disruption from roadworks, to be jointly overseen by TfL and the major utility companies.

This follows on from the introduction in 2010 of the London Permit Scheme for roadworks (which will continue to operate).

I'm sometimes minded to think that roadworks companies are running some kind of elaborate scam whereby pipes and cables break at (in)opportune intervals in order for the work to keep rolling in, but I think the reality of an ageing infrastructure that has developed more by piecemeal than by planning along with ever heavier traffic (in both senses of the word) is more likely. (Still, it would have helped if Thames Water had gradually replaced their water mains over the years rather than waking up a while back and realising that a mass replacement programme was suddenly needed...)

Now, is there any chance of a lane rental scheme for drivers who decide they want to execute a three-point turn (and hash it up into a seven-point turn) in the middle of say the Harrow Road during the evening rush?

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