Major reform for Highways Agency

Major reform for Highways Agency

The best interests of road users will be represented by a new body as part of major reforms to the Highways Agency.

The organisation, which is currently in charge of motorways and major A-roads in England, will become a Government-owned company under the plan.

Two new bodies will be established to make the agency more accountable to both road users and Parliament. One will be dedicated to protecting the rights of road users, with the other responsible for monitoring performance and costs.

The initiative has the aim of saving £2.6 billion over the course of the next decade, with the Government already committed to spending £24 billion on England's major road networks between 2010-2021.

A long-term strategy for roads investment will also be published by the Department for Transport later this year, outlining performance and investment requirements for the new company.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "This is the next step towards what we hope is a quiet revolution over the way we run our major roads and consider the people who use them.

"For too long drivers have been unheard and unrepresented. At last they will be given a voice, though only through an existing public transport consumer body. However, this is a big move forward and road travel is finally getting the attention and investment it deserves.

"The Government must now press swiftly on and enact the changes it is outlining."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: "Our road network is an incredibly important national asset, but it has been neglected. This Government has committed to the biggest ever investment in our roads but it is vital we have the right foundations in place to make sure this huge amount of money is spent in the most efficient way.

"The reformed Highways Agency will be more transparent and more accountable, driving down costs as it increases efficiency. This means taxpayers get a better deal and road users get a network that is fit for the future economic demands of this country, helping to create more jobs and support business growth."

Copyright Press Association 2014