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CIHT on A Fresh Start for the Strategic Road Network

The Department for Transport (DfT) released its response to Alan Cooks report ‘A Fresh Start for the Strategic Road Network’ which was published in November 2011.

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Transport also announced the publication of the terms of reference for the study into the feasibility of new ownership and financing models for the strategic road network.

Justine Greening said:

“Our motorways and major A roads are the backbone of Britain, getting people to and from work, powering the economy and keeping families connected. It is vital that we start taking positive steps now to improve how we operate, maintain and enhance our major roads.”

The Government also announced its intention to carry out a consultation towards the end of the year asking for views on a plan for a 20 year strategy for the national road network and new challenging performance targets for the Highways Agency to deliver against.

 

· CIHT supports this initiative as the Institution has consistently called for the establishment of a cross-party group to develop and commit to a 20 year strategy for transport infrastructure across the UK.


Cook’s Recommendations

 

CIHT are pleased to note that DfT have taken on board several of Alan Cook’s recommendations including:

· a commitment to developing a long-term strategy for the motorway and trunk road network;

· to set out a predominantly outcome-based specification for the current network, detailing firm commitments for the next five years.

 

Future of the Highways Agency

 

However, the report announced that Government do not propose to make any decisions on reshaping the existing Highways Agency Board until the feasibility study has completed, but DfT do accept a more strategic role for the Department is required.

 

· CIHT will look to respond in more detail and to contribute towards the debate around the feasibility study.

 

Future of Road Pricing

 

The response from DfT rejects the idea of road pricing, but accepts that tolling could be used in the provision of new infrastructure. DfT re-iterated the Prime Minsters previous assertions that there will be no tolling on existing capacity.

 

· CIHT believe that road pricing at both the national and local level has the potential to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits. Due to the perceived lack of public support for road pricing, any scheme must also provide significant improvements in the capacity and quality of viable alternative travel by public transport.

Sue Percy, CIHT Chief Executive said:

“We all know that the UK’s current financial situation means that there is likely to be limited opportunity for large public spending infrastructure projects and we will need a mature debate about the role of user charging and private sector investment in new infrastructure.”

“Road pricing offers a solution; a shift away from taxation to charges at the point of use and the opportunity to attract private sector to the potential revenue streams available from tolling.”

· CIHT calls for greater transparency between transport costs and transport funding to be created. It is vital that the proposed revenue from any road pricing scheme is reinvested in the transport network, to increase public transport capacity and to ease pinch points on the major roads network.

Notes for Editors

CIHT’s manifesto ‘The Future for Highways & Transportation’ proposes solutions to many of today’s challenges and is available here.

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation

CIHT is a membership organisation representing over 12,000 people who work in the highways and transportation sector.

CIHT members plan, design, build, operate and maintain best-in-class transport systems and infrastructure, whilst respecting the imperatives of improving safety, ensuring economic competitiveness and minimising environmental impact.

CIHT supports its member’s professional endeavours by:
• offering training, information, professional development and support
• promoting the value added to society by the profession
• being the focused voice to Governments and other decision makers on transportation expertise and knowledge.

For more information please contact:
Daniel Isichei, Director of Communications, CIHT on t: +44 (0) 20 7336 1567 m: 07912122573 e: Daniel.Isichei@ciht.org.uk

www.ciht.org.uk

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation
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