A spokesman for utility contractors who face paying for road works that cause congestion on during busy times on peak routes has said he's not convinced the scheme is needed.
But the National Joint Utilities Group Ltd (NJUG) said it wanted to place on record its appreciation for the inclusive and collaborative way in which Kent County Council consulted with it and its members in the development of its lane rental scheme. It added:
Whilst NJUG is yet to be convinced that lane rental will deliver substantial additional benefits over and above the existing legislation already available, we believe that Kent County Council’s approach takes a sophisticated look at using lane rental in a very targeted way, balancing the need to reduce the unfortunate disruption which sometime arises from both utility and authority essential street works, with the need to invest in essential utility services and the road network, and not unnecessarily increasing consumers’ and ratepayers bills. ”
He said they looked forward to continuing to work with the council on the plan.
A12-week trial began in March after the scheme was given the green light by the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin. Companies began incurring fines from 28th May 2013.
Plans to charge utility contractors for the disruption they cause digging up roads have won the support of Transport Minister Norman Baker MP, who said he would be watching how effective they were, ahead of a possible national rollout.
Under the plans, which cover more than 465 roads in Kent, utility companies will be charged a daily rate for the inconvenience caused by road works on popular routes at busy times.
Money paid into the scheme will be invested in further work to cut congestion in Kent.
I am pleased that Kent’s pioneering lane rental scheme is now active. It provides a strong incentive to those carrying out road works on the busiest networks to make sure they complete improvements or repairs on time. This will help minimise disruption and congestion, but also provide a better service to drivers, cyclists and passengers. I look forward to seeing the results of the Kent and Transport for London schemes in due course, which will help me decide on the future rollout of lane rental at a national level."
Kent County Council said it was committed to keeping traffic moving, but it was difficult when companies scheduled road works on heavily-used roads during rush hour.
The Kent Lane Rental Scheme forced companies to really think about the scale and duration of works on our key routes, or face a sizeable charge for the disruption they cause for Kent’s travelling public It is the perfect way to keep our network of roads as clear as possible and get drivers to where they need to be as quickly as possible; a truly remarkable scheme."
A scheme aimed at cutting congestion on Kent's busiest roads by charging companies lane rental while they carry out roadworks is now up and running.
The county council has set up the new Kent Lane Rental Scheme. Companies will now be charged up to £2,000 per day for the inconvenience caused by digging up the busiest roads on the network at peak time.
Kent is the first county council in the country to run the scheme, which is designed to get contractors to work on the roads during the night and at off-peak times, or to use techniques such as tunnelling more often to avoid closing roads.
Kent County Council says the number of babies it has awaiting adoption have almost tripled. Its social services department says since the case of Baby P, there has been a big rise in the number of very young children and babies taken into care.
Flood defence work has started in Sandwich to protect homes and businesses on the former Pfizer business park.
Some areas of Sandwich currently have a one in 20 chance of tidal flooding every year. The new scheme is intended to improve and raise defences on the banks of the River Stour.
Cllr Paul Carter, the leader of Kent County Council, and Andrew Pearce from the Environment Agency, explained why the scheme was so important.
The £20 million flood defence scheme will reduce the risk of tidal flooding to Sandwich and Stonar Loop. Currently there;s a 1 in 20 chance of tidal flooding for some properties in the area. The new tidal defence scheme will provide a 1 in 200 standard protection to more than 500 properties.
Work to protect homes and businesses from flooding gets underway today. The Sandwich Town Tidal Defence Scheme will affect 488 homes and 94 commercial properties. It's got backing from the Environment Agency, Kent County Council and Pfizer.
A group of teenagers who have spent most of their childhoods in care have helped to set up a new website offering career advice, shopping tips and information on health for their peers. They want others to learn from their experiences.
There are three and a half thousand children in care in Kent. The council believes an interactive website is one way of giving them help and support. In his report about 'Kent Cares Town' , Tom Savvides spoke to Theresa Jackson, Sophia Dunstan, David Tadese; and Tony Doran from Kent County Council.
Kent County Council is one of several councils in the south east accused of paying too many managers high salaries. The Taxpayers' Alliance says it employs 491 managers on wages of £50,000+. But Kent points out that it has reduced the overall bill for its employees, and has not raised council tax.
The money would be used to deliver an 'improved passenger experience at every step of the airport journey'.Read the full story ›