Scheme designed to ensure work carried out when roads less busy

London councils will be able to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day to carry out road works during peak times, thanks to Department for Transport guidelines published today.

It is hoped the road “rental” charge, proposed by transport secretary Philip Hammond, will help to reduce traffic in the city by encouraging companies to work at times when the roads are less busy, or even at night.

Councils will devise their own rental schemes, deciding how much to charge utility companies for their peak-time road works, in accordance with DfT proposals. Rental costs will be “proportionate” to predicted congestion costs and can be avoided if companies carry out works when roads are deemed less busy.

The scheme’s backer Hammond said he found London road works “frustrating” and felt the work was often “expensive as well as inconvenient”. “One estimate valu[es] the loss to the economy from road works congestion at £4 billion a year. We simply cannot afford this,” he said.

The money raised from road rentals will go towards funding future council schemes to tackle road works disruption.