LONDON, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The Road Haulage Association welcomes the acknowledgement by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, that millions of people rely on our road network - as, we would add, does UK business. Government policy must reflect the essential nature of our road network - both trunk roads and local roads - and ensure that they are of a high standard and adequate capacity.
"Of course we are pleased to hear that the Treasury is to invest over £28 billion from 2014 until 2020 in enhancements and maintenance of national and local roads," said RHA Chief Executive, Geoff Dunning.
"It is essential that work starts without delay if the UK haulage industry is to deliver economic growth. It is also essential that we as an industry see money being spent as opposed to hearing intentions of spending."
Mr Alexander stated that "without further significant investment now, by 2040 nearly a quarter of all those motorists' travel time could be spent stuck in traffic." For road haulage operators, our customers and future investors in the UK, this is not an option. "Open for business" demands a high quality road network.
And, while welcoming the commitment of £10bn in road repairs between 2015-16 and 2020-21, the RHA is concerned that for some areas, these repairs will come too late. £6bn of that commitment has been earmarked for Local Authorities to fill the equivalent of 19 million pot holes a year.
"The past couple of years have seen many road users faced with appalling driving conditions as a result of extreme weather. The knock-on effects, coupled with under-investment in maintenance over many years, have seen many side roads, in particular those leading to industrial sites and other areas, left in a condition that can be both dangerous and damaging to vehicles. It is vital that these improvements start now - waiting until next year for this work to start is not an option.
The RHA is pleased to hear of the commitment to deliver all of the major projects in the Highways Agency pipeline including:
The addition of two lanes to the busiest motorways - bringing another 221 lane miles to our road network, and addressing some of the most congested parts of our network including the £1.5 billion A14 scheme between Huntingdon and Cambridge and that the start of construction will be brought forward by almost 2 years, to 2016.
Finally, we note the announcement that the Highways Agency is to be transformed into a publicly-owned corporation.
The potential is there for the new body to drive up standards and we look forward to seeing the details on issues such as engagement, transparency, accountability, the standards to be achieved, funding, use of information and user charging.
An important issue, particularly for road hauliers, will be the approach of the Highways Agency to the provision and use of appropriate, secure, truck parking facilities.
Notes to Editors
Other improvements announced today include:
- The A19 between Newcastle and South Shields
- The A63 in Hull
- The M6 junctions between Birmingham and Manchester
- The M5 junctions Bromsgrove to Worcester
- The A38 Derby Junction
- The M1 junction near Long Eaton and south of Rugby
- The A21 Tonbridge to Pembury
- Junctions on the M4
- The M23 Gatwick junctions
- The A27 Chichester bypass
- The A303
- The A1 north of Newcastle.
- The A27 corridor, the trans-Pennine route, and connectivity to Leeds Airport.
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SOURCE Road Haulage Association