Major savings for taxpayers and benefits for the national economy could be unlocked by reforming the Government's management of England's motorways and trunk roads, says an independent review.
Alan Cook, non-executive chairman of the Highways Agency, said: "The management of our strategic roads is at odds with every other major infrastructure sector in the UK. By applying the lessons learnt by the best performing companies in other sectors, there is the potential to save taxpayers at least £200 million a year after five years and to provide a much better service for road users and the wider economy."
The report recommends that the Secretary of State for Transport should take on a new, more strategic role in the management of the network, providing longer-term funding certainty for the organisation and acting as a champion for the interests of road users and the economy through a performance specification with tough new targets for efficiency and customer service.
Alongside of this, the report also recommends reforming the status of the current Highways Agency, giving it a more independent Board, which can make better and more flexible commercial decisions with greater financial autonomy.
Cook concluded: "The importance of this network to the growth of the economy is enormous. It handles a third of all traffic in England and two-thirds of all freight traffic. But policy makers need to be much clearer about what they want the network to deliver in return for the public money that is spent on it. Meeting the country's current economic and financial challenges demands a change in our approach."
The full report is available here.