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Utility firms must pay to dig up roads in London, under a new scheme rolled out today.

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London Mayor declared he was at “war on disruptive roadworks that drive motorists nuts.”

Road works and the up-grading the capital city’s underground pipe network are just two causes of frustration for commuters stuck in congestion, every day.

But now carrying out such work at peak times of day incurs a £2,500 bill.

Perhaps surprisingly, the scheme found favour with Thames Water, one of the biggest utility firms regularly in the spotlight for pipe leaks.

Transport for London hope the levy will prevent gridlock at the most busy times of day.

Around 200 miles of red route roads are included in the scheme; but around 47 per cent of the lanes are not.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Lane rental is a vital addition to our arsenal. Setting the meter running the moment the first cone appears will finally make utilities understand the full economic cost of their work.

“It will encourage companies to work round the clock, team up and share trenches or develop new technology to speed up their work. Lane rental will keep traffic moving, and promote peace on our roads.”

A spokesman for Thames Water told London24.com: We think that anything that encourages swifter and more efficient working by utility firms in the capital city roads has to be a good thing.”

It is understood that utility films shall wait six months before giving a more detailed response.

One area of concern for firms could be over whether emergency works requiring urgent action are billed by TfL if they happen at peak times.

Londoners can shop utility firms which sow disruption. Report cases via email to www.tfl.gov.uk/roadworks. Alternatively, tweet @report_it with the hashtag #roadworks.

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