HC Deb 27 June 2002 vol 387 cc984-5W
Mr. Allan

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has made to the Department of Transport regarding section 74A of the New Roads and Streetworks Act 1991 and the potential effects the powers will have on the ability of telecommunication companies to build high bandwidth networks. [62632]

Mr. Timms

Pilot schemes to test powers under which local authorities can charge utility companies lane rental, whenever the latter dig up highways to install or maintain their apparatus, began in Camden and Middlesbrough on 4 March 2002 and are due to continue until March 2004.

The Department for Transport have appointed consultants to produce a balanced assessment of the impact of the lane rental pilots, both in terms of the effect of lane rental on the disruption caused by utility works and the costs which it imposes on those utilities. We await their first monitoring report which is due to be delivered in late autumn.

The effects on the roll out of broadband and 3G mobile networks will be taken into account before any final decision on the national implementation of lane rental charging is made.

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