Fleet News

Roads investment great news for logistics, says FTA

The Freight Transport Association has voiced its support of the announcement of the Roads Investment Strategy (RIS), saying that it is “good news for the freight and logistics sector.”

the first ever Roads Investment Strategy outlines plans for 1,300 new lane miles on motorways and trunk roads, in order to tackle congestion and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the UK road network.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy said: “FTA believes that this investment announcement has significant benefits for the freight industry in setting improvements to journey reliability. The freight and logistics industry relies upon reliable road infrastructure to ensure that products are move efficiently and at reasonable cost.”

Described as an ambitious £15 billion plan to triple levels of spending by the end of the decade to increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads, the RIS was announced to Parliament by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am setting out the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades. It will dramatically improve our road network and unlock Britain’s economic potential. Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment.”

The RIS sets out a vision for the Strategic Road Network and aims to deliver far greater consistency across the network going forward. As a result investment will be focused on delivering: a network of ‘smart motorways’ and ‘expressways’; improvements to support the Northern Power House (including announcing a new study into a trans Pennine tunnel); supporting growth and housing; better connections between key routes (e.g. Oxford to Cambridge) and to other end points (e.g. Mersey Port); and safety and congestion (including new study into the South West quadrant of M25.
 
FTA’s Bingham added:  “Our challenge now is to make sure that these announced schemes are taken forward and the work that will be inevitable during construction is done with the minimum of disruption.”

Simon Dixon, transport partner at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, said: 
 
“The funding outlined will help to provide security and confidence among those looking to invest in the UK road network. The extra investment and long-term certainty of funding will also enable the Highways Agency to put together cost-effective programmes, which drive down costs. 
 
“As the Highways Agency is turned into a Government-owned company (GovCo), and with increasing pressure on the network and limited funding, a wider debate about the role of road charging in adding to government funding will be needed.
 
"As a GovCo, the Highways Agency will effectively become a regulated utility, much like Network Rail, the water and utility companies, but it will be the only one that does not charge its customers. At the moment the only source of funding for road building is what the government provides, whereas other regulated utilities generate income from their customers.”

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