THE County Council is continuing to pursue possible plans to charge ‘rent for lanes’, as a way to speed up road repairs.

The Worcester News first revealed that the introduction of the scheme was being considered last year, with Worcestershire County councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways, telling the paper that the authority was planning to start charging utility companies by the day for carrying out repairs on roads in a bid to cut unnecessarily long delays.

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Under the rent scheme local authorities are able to charge up to £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times. The scheme has been successfully trialled elsewhere in the country, including in London.

Cllr Amos had previously told us that the utility companies could be “brought under control” through using the scheme and renting out roads for a daily fee, plus charging more during rush hour.

If the council decide to adopt it, it could legally not start renting lanes out to companies until April 2021.

The move is being considered as in recent years utility companies have been fined millions for poor standards, for shoddy repairs and delays.

Only last September we reported that Severn Trent Water was fined £5,000 after its delayed work brought gridlock to Worcester city centre. Councillor Alan Amos, later attacked the water firm for “causing the chaos”, adding “This is the kind of attitude we have to deal with, but we have zero tolerance.”

BT Openreach also previously came under fire after failing more than a fifth of inspections carried out when work was completed.

Worcestershire County councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways said: “Worcestershire County Council is considering all options with regards to road space booking and this includes the possibility of a ‘Lane Rental Scheme‘ in the future.

"Road space permit charging was introduced for all streets in April 2019 and the effectiveness of this must be reviewed before any changes are made.

"In addition to this, the Department for Transport is introducing a new ‘Street Manager’ system in April 2020 which all highway authorities must use.”

The authority has previously revealed it receives more than 300 applications a day to dig up the county’s roads.