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Last edited 06 Sep 2021
In August 2021, it was announced that Highways England would change its name to ‘National Highways’, reflecting a new focus on delivering the government’s strategic roads investment programme. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nick-harris-appointed-chief-executive-at-new-look-national-highways
This change was announced in June 2013 by Danny Alexander, then-Chief Secretary to the Treasury and introduced by the Infrastrucure Act 2015. It brought Highways Agency activities into government ownership to ensure funding could be allocated on a longer-term basis, giving greater certainty over upgrades to the highways network and saving the taxpayer £2.6 billion over 10 years.
Highways England was a government-owned company, or highway authority, that worked with the Department for Transport to operate, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads. It also managed and helped prevent incidents on England’s motorways through its uniformed Traffic Officer service.
It had 3,500 staff based at offices in Guildford, Bedford, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter. Oversight was provided by the Office of Rail and Road (formerly the Office of Rail Regulation), who monitored the performance and efficiency of the company, and Transport Focus who act as a watchdog for road users.
The 4,300 miles of road network for which Highways England was responsible represented just 2% of all roads in England by length, but it carried a third of all traffic by mileage and two thirds of all heavy goods traffic.
- 112 major improvements, including 15 smart motorway projects providing 280 extra miles of capacity, and resurfacing the majority of the network.
- Providing a more accessible road system delivering more than 150 new cycling facilities and crossings, and cycle-proofing new schemes.
- Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the network by 40% from the 2010 baseline.
Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of Highways England said:
“The launch of Highways England is an incredibly significant moment for those who rely on England’s motorways and major A roads. As well as delivering the biggest investment in major roads since the 1970s, there will be fundamental changes to the way motorways and major A roads are maintained and operated. We will be focussing on customers, providing better travel information before and during journeys, improving safety and reducing the impact of roadworks.”
“The Department and Highways England need to agree a more realistic and affordable plan if they are to provide optimal value from the Road Investment Strategy... Highways England has been working to address the risks to deliverability, affordability and value for money that were present in 2015, but we are now nearly two years into the five-year road investment period. Decisive action needs to be taken before the updated delivery plan is published in the summer if shortcomings in the current strategy are not to be carried over into future road investment periods.”
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- Highway authority.
- Highways in England and Wales.
- Infrastructure act.
- Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works.
- National Highways.
- Overview of the road development process.
- Rapid Engineering Model REM.
- Road investment strategy.
- Roads revolution.
- Section 38 agreement.
- Section 278 agreement.
- Smart motorways procurement plan.
- Street authority.
- Sustainable transport.
- Transport mobility and the magic map.
- Travel plan.
- Vision and validate: a third way in designing the roads of the future.
- Why demolition and infilling are blunt weapons in the management of historic structures.
 External references
- Ref Highways Agency, Driving forward: a new era for England’s major roads, 26 March 2015.
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