Potential consequences for Londoners – including higher utility bills – must be properly thought through before plans to charge for lane rental to regulate roadworks are introduced.
Our Transport Committee’s response to both the Government’s consultation and Transport for London’s (TfL) consultation on lane rental proposals, calls for more work to be done on the benefits and costs of the scheme.
A key concern of the Committee’s is the potential for utility companies to pass on the cost of renting lanes to customers. The control this, the Government must make sure regulators have sufficient powers to intervene. If bills do go up at all, the benefits of the scheme must justify the increase.
The response also raises concerns about the impact of noise late at night and on weekends if utility companies carry out roadworks outside ‘chargeable’ times to avoid paying for lane rental. TfL suggests half a million Londoners could be affected.
Pedestrians may also be affected if pavements are obstructed by vehicles and stored materials belonging to companies carrying out roadworks.
The response calls on the Government to include more safeguards in its requirements for lane rental schemes to protect residents and other road users, and for TfL to publish measures for assessing the wider impact on: Londoners’ utility bills; nearby residents; and all road users including pedestrians and cyclists.
See also the Transport Committee’s report: The future of road congestion (June 2011).