Lane Rental scheme

Lane Rental scheme: changes and how we can help

The TfL Lane Rental scheme, initially introduced in 2012, applies to the most traffic-sensitive areas and times of day in the UK – accounting for around 69% of the Transport for London Road Network. The scheme is designed to encourage behaviour change and reduce highway occupation by implementing a daily charge to utility companies that are undertaking roadworks or construction in these areas. This then encourages workers to get the job done quicker – thereby causing less disruption to traffic flow, pedestrians and noise pollution.

What is the Lane Rental scheme daily charge?

The charge of renting this space for streetworks can often be as much as £2,500 per day. However, weekends are typically charged at a lower rate than weekdays and peak times. The scheme focuses on London and its boroughs currently, but may be expanded to further areas in the future.

When work is required on highways at critical times and locations, the New Roads and Street Works Act gives highway authorities the ability to implement Permit schemes and Lane Rental Charges – which unfortunately results in large costs for utility companies. Public perception of utility organisations is then, in turn, influenced by the disruption caused when works are carried out.

This scheme affects our end users, the contractors and utility companies as they are the ones who are charged for their work, and the time it takes to complete this work. That’s why providing the most time-efficient equipment is so important, as it allows our end users to get the job done quickly and safely.

Key facts about the Lane Rental scheme

  • It is estimated that there are around 4 million excavations carried out annually by utility companies which incur costs of circa £5.5billion.
  • The majority of utility assets (pipes, cables, ducts etc.) in the UK are underground. Therefore, any installation, modification, repair or replacement of these assets will require some method of excavation.
  • There are a number of techniques that address the installation, modification, repair or replacement of assets for excavation, with some examples being open cut trenching, directional drilling, pipe bursting and impact moling.
  • Roadworks and construction can affect the public in a variety of ways, and there needs to be a particular focus on improving this for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.

What changes have been made to the Lane Rental scheme?

On 1st May 2021, new changes were made to the Lane Rental scheme by TfL due to feedback from utility companies. This was done in order to:

  • Reflect modern day travel demands (e.g. walking, cycling, public transport)
  • Reward those with exemplary works safety and disruption mitigation records
  • Encourage major infrastructure renewal projects
  • Provide increased opportunities to avoid charges

The changes being made to the scheme include:

  • Extending the Lane Rental scheme network from 56% to 69%
  • Increasing tidal locations (AM or PM peak periods) by 16%
  • Lane Rental only operating until 8pm latest on a weekday (changed from 10pm)
  • 65% of the calendar week is now free from charges
  • Charges for works that deliver major infrastructure improvements reduced by 50%

Learn more about the Lane Rental scheme from TfL now.

How Oxford Plastics can help alleviate Lane Rental scheme pain

Here at Oxford Plastics, we pride ourselves on the fact we are a solutions provider. We’ve listened closely to our end users and understand the problems they have, and are exposed to, with this scheme. That’s why it’s so important to provide solutions that mean workers can be in and out of the job quickly and easily – trusting the safety equipment they are working with, enabling them to get the work done in a timely, yet safe, manner.

Safety products to increase efficiency

With construction and streetworks, there’s often periods of time where work has been implemented somewhat, but hasn’t been completed – which can still cause disruption to traffic flow. For example, when pipe lane work is being done, there could be a 12-hour period where asphalt needs to be backfilled in again – but by putting something down or across the roadworks, it means people can continue to drive over the trench. Some of the products that minimise disruption during streetworks include:

  • Road plates and trench covers – by using road plates or trench covers, the road can be opened up again in between works – meaning that disruption can be minimised, as traffic can drive over this equipment safely and easily.
  • Safety barriers – here at Oxford Plastics, we provide a wide range of barriers – including the Avalon barrier, the SafeGate and the StrongWall barrier. These plastic barriers allow for areas to be cordoned off safely – providing safe access for pedestrians around areas of roadworks or construction.
  • EnduraSign QuickFit Frame – we’re proud to present one of our newest products, the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame. Compatible with 300mm drilled sign faces, this can be used to alert pedestrians and road users of ongoing construction work and activity.

For more information on Lane Rental schemes, and how Oxford Plastics can help reduce daily rental charge by providing time-efficient safety equipment, get in touch with our expert team today.

Oxford Plastics Top 5 Barriers

We’ve been manufacturing safety equipment and signage for more than three decades and have developed particular expertise when it comes to one of our core product sets; barriers.

Ranging from redirecting pedestrians on busy streets, to open-air gigs right through to today’s social distancing requirements, our barriers have helped thousands of projects and kept millions of people safe. Here is a summary of our top 5 barriers:

  1. OxfordWall

The OxfordWall is designed to be water-filled or sand-filled on-site for strength and durability. When empty, OxfordWall is a light, blow-moulded barrier; it stacks efficiently for easy transport and assembly.

OxfordWalls are made of UV stabilised polythene and are normally supplied in red or white. Designed for traffic delineation through and around work sites, the OxfordWall can create strong and safe cycle lanes and pedestrian access; crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic and the stringent social distancing guidelines. It is highly visible to road traffic users and is fast and easy to deploy.

  1. StrongWall® Barrier

The StrongWall® barrier is heavy-duty, robust and strong, providing safe access for pedestrians through highways and construction works. The 18kg base, made from recycled plastics, weights the barrier for strong stability. The walls interlock using a pin and bucket locking system to prevent being dismantled or tampered with.

The barrier is non-corrosive and non-conductive with compact stacking for easy transport and handling. Colours and customisation are available to ensure the StrongWall represents our clients’ brand.

This heavy-duty, wind-resistant barrier can help keep cyclists, pedestrians and road traffic separated and safe. This system provides safe access and protection for semi-permanent or long-term use, throughout the year.

  1. StrongFence Barrier

The StrongFence barrier is an extension of the patented StrongWall® Barrier.

Enhanced Barrier, 2m tall for use at deep excavations. 100% plastic, non-conductive, used in Street Works & Construction jobs, in sub-stations,

  1. Avalon® Chapter 8 Plastic Safety Barrier

The Avalon® is our most popular barrier and suitable for pedestrian and cycle lane delineation. It is Chapter 8 compliant and perfect for semi-permanent, temporary and short-term requirements.

The barrier is available in 2m, 1m and 0.5m wide and can be used on uneven ground; ideal for temporary road surfaces or on non-paved surfaces.

The barriers are available with the standard Avalon® linking system or the tube end linking system. Different feet can be selected dependent on customer requirements, and this safety barrier is customisable to ensure corporate colours and branding if needed.

  1. SafeGate Portable Gate Barrier

The SafeGate barrier is designed for use around temporary excavations and commonly used in the communications industry and guarding manholes. Perfect for creating safe access and controlled entry to specific areas, it is ideal for temporary or semi-permanent solutions in environments such as schools, airports and high streets.

Made from high-density polyethylene and small enough to fit in the back of a van, the SafeGate Barrier is ideal for single person worksites. It is very lightweight and can be erected in seconds.

Oxford Plastics has a long-standing and well-proven reputation in giving the best service and providing superior products to its customers. We manufacture intelligently designed, problem-solving products that make spaces safer, more efficient and effective. We produce safe, secure and compliant products, 75% of which are made from recycled plastic and are 95% recyclable.

Learn more about our products and equipment here, or get in contact with us to see how we can help with your requirements.

Trench Grid – Amey Utilities’ 2020 Challenge winner

Recently, we embarked on a journey with one of the UK’s biggest utility companies, Amey. They supply utilities such as water, gas and electricity to homes across the nation. They strive on making journeys better by maintaining and improving roads, railways and airports. They also keep facilities running smoothly, and improving social housing and schools.

The brief…

Amey approached us with a common issue that was found on streetworks sites across the country. When digging a trench on public grounds, there was a risk that was created when leaving a site overnight. Even with clear barrier systems in place and signage warning people of the works being carried out, the open trench was still an issue that needed addressing.

So how did we do it?

Firstly, we needed to fully understand Amey’s requirements and what exactly they were looking for. This research phase is something Oxford Plastics are well versed in as we have developed numerous products with end-users, most notably the LowPro 15/10 Trench Cover which was developed with Cadent (previously known as National Grid). The LowPro 15/10 also went onto win the Street Works Future Award too. Check out our blog on the award here!

We believe partnering with real-life users of our products is the best way to find out how our products are being used, what issues there are within the markets and areas that cause a risk to the safety of workers and the public.

The end result – Trench Grid

Once we had carried out our extensive R&D process, we finally produced a product to eliminate the safety issues of leaving a trench overnight. Trench Grid was born. With the ability to span across a 1-meter trench with a maximum depth of 1.2-meters, it provides a safe solution to the public when leaving a trench overnight.

It also complies with the Oxford Plastic Systems drop-test where a 45kg weight is released from a test rig and allowed to free-fall a minimum of 1.2m under gravity onto the surface of the test sample and held for at least five minutes.

Though the TrenchGrid is a SECONDARY PROTECTION measure, for primary protection, refer to the LowPro Trench Cover & Road Plate range such as the LowPro 12/8 Footway Board, LowPro 11/11 Footway Board and the LowPro 15/10 Driveway Board.

 

LowPro 15/10 Award Winning Trench Cover

Why size matters when it comes to site products

With so much to consider when planning street works, thinking about the size of products you’re using on site may not be at the top of your agenda. However, using compact, stackable products can be a gamechanger in street works. Keeping all elements of your site as efficient as possible – from materials to workforce to transport – can carry huge benefits financially and environmentally.

Travel less with compact, stackable products

An immediate positive of using compact, stackable materials such as the Oxford Plastics Chapter 8 Street Works range, is reduced travel. Products including EnduraSign, LowPro trench covers and SafeGate barriers are all designed with your site in mind, ensuring you can load more in a van and carry more to site while taking compliance and industry guidance into account.

All of our products are made to the highest of standards, ensuring durability and quality while remaining compact, easy to transport and importantly, easy to install. Stackable products allow you to get everything you need to site in less trips – saving you time and money.

LowPro 15/10 Award Winning Trench Cover

Increase efficiency onsite

Portable, one-person lift products increase efficiency on sites with a limited workforce. Lightweight, easy to install or erect products save time in installation, reduce the risk off onsite injury and ensure the safety of the general public – it’s a win-win!

Running an efficient site shouldn’t be complicated and using products that reduce both work for onsite staff and travel to and from the site, while increasing safety and meeting compliance standards can be a huge step in the right direction.

Chapter 8 Street Works compliant  

Chapter 8 Street Works compliant refers to codes of practice created by the Department of Transport to ensure regulation of signage, lighting and guarding of street works and road works on all highways and roads. The regulations are designed to ensure the safety of site staff and operatives, as well as the public and are directed at site operatives, supervisors, managers, planners and designers.

Using any of the Oxford Plastics Chapter 8 Street Works range ensures your site equipment is compliant, safe and durable.

To find out how to increase safety and efficiency on your site with our compliant, compact, stackable solutions, contact us today.

EnduraSign Xtra – Miles Above The Rest

Having compliant, reliable equipment is fundamental in Street Works to make sure the job runs without avoidable issues. Neil Derrick, Senior General Foreman for Morgan Sindall, tried the new EnduraSign Xtra from Oxford Plastics and was extremely impressed with the results.

Durable, stable & weighted

“I have checked all signs this morning after a massive storm overnight and they have all stayed in place and erect,” said Neil. Over 1 month, and through a series of stormy nights, Neil deployed 21 EnduraSign Xtras along Station Road in Cardiff. Despite the stormy weather, the EnduraSign Xtra stayed put.

Saves time, money & improves site safety

“The EnduraSign Xtra makes a massive, massive difference; they stand the wind. In the last month since I’ve been using them not a single one has been blown over. It’s also about the company image, and your site doesn’t get fined by the Street Works Inspector. The metal signs with 2 sandbags blow down every day – I used to spend an hour each day to pick them up. The metal ones are too rigid – they’re quite dangerous, but the EnduraSign Xtra flexes if it’s hit by traffic.” – Neil Derrick – Morgan Sindall

Old Vs New

     

The EnduraSign Xtra is fitted with 2 EnduraSign Ballasts which give the temporary street works sign category A wind-resistance.

Get in touch!

Find out more information on the EnduraSign Xtra here. Want to find your local stockist or receive a price list for the EnduraSign Xtra? Get in touch here.

Cheap Trench Cover

When Cheap Ain’t Cheerful: A Health & Safety Nightmare

 

In recent years the trench cover market has seen a rise in cheap composite trench covers. In many ways they look like a typical composite trench cover; they are plastic, yellow and have anti-skid on the surface. However it doesn’t take long for a cheap composite trench cover to look like a health & safety nightmare!

 

Cheap Trench Cover

Oxford Plastics Trench Covers

 

This picture shows a Chinese trench cover that has cracked to reveal a gaping hole in the resident’s driveway. Lucky for this resident, someone quickly came along to replace the defective trench cover with a LowPro 15/10 Driveway Board

 

 

 

 

 

A cheap imitation is just that: an unsuitable mock-up of the original. Oxford composite covers are designed for purpose, like the LowPro 15/10 Driveway Board, or the 12/8 Safe Cover. We test our trench covers over and above the safety requirements to leave our customers feeling full of confidence, instead of full of dread!

 

Feel confident in your work site; be safe and be compliant with Oxford Plastic’s trench covers.

Are Your Footway Boards Compliant?

We tested our Footway Board 12/8 Safe Cover and an available alternative to the latest HAUC 2018/01 Advice Note

 

 

There are many criteria for a Footway Board to be compliant, including that it should:

 

  • Be capable of supporting a working load of 400kg with a deflection of no more than 35mm over the
    design life of the board
  • The ultimate failure load should not be less than 800kg
  • Watch to see which Footway Boards are safe and compliant for Street Works & Utilities

 

Read the full document here: HAUC(UK) Advice Note No. 2018/01 Specification and Operational Requirements for Footway Boards, Driveway Boards, Footway Ramps and Road Plates

As always, if you would like to learn more about our LowPro trench covers and pedestrian hole cover range, click here.

Street Works UK Awards 2017 LowPro 15/10

Winner of the Street Works Future Award: LowPro 15/10

November 15th, the Utility Industry assembled at Westminster for the Street Works UK Awards 2017 (formerly NJUG). The awards celebrate innovation and diligence across the gas, water and electricity sectors. And we are thrilled to have won the Street Works Future Award for the LowPro 15/10: replacement for steel plates in driveways.

 

The Oxford Plastics LowPro 15/10 overcomes the many issues caused by cumbersome steel plates to create safe and easy access for residents to their homes during routine utility works.

 

Handling methods of steel plates require either HIAB lifting equipment or in some cases mini diggers. Neither was deemed acceptable in the residential environment, with steel plates also being over-engineered for this application. And so, collaborating with tRIIO & the Oxford Plastics Research & Development Team, we set to work designing a safe and simple solution that would enable residents to access to their homes during utility work excavations.

 

The rapid adoption of this innovative solution across the Utilities and construction industry is testimony to its creation. The LowPro 15/10 solves an industry problem that has been around for years, and ties in directly with the Street Works UK Key Goals: safety, high quality, minimise disruption & innovation.


Feedback from Users

“At Wales & West Utilities our essential work to respond to gas emergencies, connect new homes and businesses and upgrade the gas network can mean that we have to dig in footpaths and driveways. The Oxford Plastics products we use meet all our needs and removes safety concerns around the use of traditional steel plates. The Oxford LowPro 15/10 is quick and easy to install. It is a time and money saver; helping us to deliver value for money to our customers while keeping disruption to customers, road users and other members of the community to a minimum.”

 

Graham Bond

Street Works Manager

Wales & West Utilities Limited

 

“Balfour Beatty provide the essential infrastructure assets societies need to function, develop and thrive. Our teams operate across the full infrastructure lifecycle and address long-term challenges. We harness innovation to improve safety and minimise this essential work has on local communities and the investment in the Low Pro 15/10 product has helped us to deliver this goal. The product has also been part of the development of the HAUC advice note on the specification and Operational requirements for footway boards, Driveway Boards, Footway Ramps and Road Plates.”

 

Tom Lambert

General Manager Streetworks

Balfour Beatty Services

End of the Road for Lane Rental Schemes?

 

In the UK we focus a lot of time & energy on keeping traffic flowing around roadworks. Alas, it’s a tale we all know well; the morning commute run amok while you wait for your turn to weave past roadworks, those gloating traffic lights flashing a big red “WAIT” on your way to work…

 

All of this could be changing soon with the trials of Lane Rental Schemes. The scheme would charge Utility companies for street works repairs during ‘peak times’, meaning less congestion for Jo Public. However, Street Works UK (formerly NJUG) doesn’t quite see it the same way. NJUG Chief Executive Bob Gallienne said in September of this year: “Lane rental schemes make it harder for Utility companies to deliver vital infrastructure and value for money for consumers while minimising disruption. Rather, Street Works UK proposes a new initiative to tackle the issue and will be speaking with major Utility companies to discuss how to move forward. This consultation is a chance to explore how disruption can be reduced for road users at the same time as minimising the policy burden on Utility companies. NJUG is currently working with a range of stakeholders to develop a Future Strategy for Street Works, setting out a blue print for delivering world class street works.”