Fears lane charges will push up energy prices

Plans to charge utility firms to dig up the road could mean increased costs for energy prices.

The scheme for lane charges was put out to consultation by the government yesterday (August 22).

Should the scheme get the go-ahead local authorities would have the power to set lane charge fees up to a total of £2,500 a day.

However, Energy Networks Association (ENA) which represents the 'wires and pipes' aspects for the gas and electricity industry are concerned the scheme will push up bills.

ENA spokesman, Tim Fields, welcomed the consultation but on the cost factor he told edie: "Obviously we don't want that to be the case.

"But we have to be realistic if the charges go up for us, that is passed on to utilities companies and they will pass it on the consumer."

Introducing the consultation transport minister, Philip Hammond, said: "Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when you are sat in a traffic jam.

"This disruption is expensive as well as inconvenient, with one estimate valuing the loss to the economy from road works congestion at £4 billion a year. We simply cannot afford this."

The minister also stated any revenue raised from the charges would be used by councils to fund schemes which could help to reduce future road works disruption.

The consultation is due to close on October 31.

Schemes in Camden and Middlesbrough were trialled between 2002 and 2004, but since then nothing has been taken further.

Luke Walsh


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