With Britain’s busy roads accounting for 90% of motorised travel in the UK for business and leisure purposes, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT) is calling on the Government to speed up its development of a proper high level strategy and funding package for Britain’s strategic roads network.
The call follows the Government’s response to the Cook Report on the Highways Agency – "A Fresh Start for the Strategic Road Network: the Government Response" – and its intention to publish the findings of its study in the autumn into alternative funding and ownership models for the strategic roads network.
Steve Agg, Chief Executive of CILT, said: ‘Businesses and households together spend £44billion a year on vehicle purchase and contribute £38billion in road user taxation to the Exchequer. The strategic road network is vital to the efficiency of transport and its contribution to economic growth.
‘Developing a long-term strategy for our roads network and an appropriate funding package, as applies to rail, is long overdue.’
The Institute therefore welcomes the Government’s intention to develop a Road Strategy within the Government’s overall Transport Strategy, especially the suggestion that the Highways Agency should be given output targets.
The Institute also recommends that the Government makes contingencies for a sizeable expansion in tax-free electrically-powered vehicles and the likely fall-off in revenues – and be clear about the role of tolling and road-user charging implied in its current study of new ownership and financing models.
The Institute urges the Government to consider international experience and best practice but to look much further ahead for the roads network than its current five year horizon. The long lead times in designing road improvements and obtaining planning approval mean that route strategies will need to look at demand growth over the next 20-30 years and the most efficient way of meeting it on each route.
The Institute wants a High Level Output Statement together with an associated network asset base, matching the arrangements for rail.
Steve Agg concluded: ‘Ensuring the strategic road network is planned as part of an overall transport strategy is vital. So far there is no sign of this.’