A route to a better future for local highways?

A £15 billion fund for local roads could be created by closely linking to inflation and then released on a TOTEX basis, removing the public sector restrictions on capital and revenue spending, according to the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).

The idea comes as part of a new report by CIHT, Improving Local Highways, which also calls for a move to a clear expression by practitioners, policymakers and local politicians of the purpose of the network by moving to a new style of roads categorisation. Instead of the current A,B,C and unclassified roads, terminology woulf be based around placemaking ideas.

The report said: “Physical evidence of ageing and worn-out highways is there for everyone to see including potholes, broken carriageways, uneven and cracked footways. Local highways need urgent action, because as the future evolves and new 4G / 5G internet networks are installed, these highways will be asked to work even harder, finding space for the fibre cables, masts, and cells needed to give us high-speed, universal, instant connectivity.”

Sue Percy CBE, Chief Executive, CIHT said: “Everyone depends on the UK’s network of local highways; they are at the heart of our communities and these arteries of our country need to be invested in to ensure fitness to compete in the global economy. Despite the efforts of central and local government, the LHN is not in a good state and not up to the job of supporting the country’s ambitions for the future.”

“Without a new strategy, the LHN cannot help businesses to increase productivity, realise their economic opportunities and deliver what the nation needs for a sustainable future. CIHT is calling for the government to commit to deliver a four-point strategy for the Local Highway Network that will create a vision, funding and focus over the next ten years. Our recommendations include the need to establish a new inflation-linked local highways fund (on top of the current funding); creation of an improved system of monitoring and a national condition database.

The full report and supporting research is available here and a copy is available here CIHT – Improving Local Highways – the route to a better future.


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