Call for Comprehensive Spending Review to invest in highways and transportation

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transport (CIHT) has said that this weeks Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) must deliver investment in highways and transportation. Investment in transport infrastructure and the services it delivers is the key to the UK reaching net zero.

Sue Percy, Chief Executive, CIHT said: “Planned and consistent investment in highways and transportation is not just critical in supporting economic performance and productivity. This investment would also address additional key policy areas where it is often not recognised or seen as a barrier. Certainty of investment would support key government objectives including levelling up and climate change agendas.”

“When it comes to climate action and levelling up, CIHT sees investment in the local highway network (LHN) as the biggest transport priority; without adequate funding other government plans will not be met.  This is not about road building but about transforming communities. Planning and transport together can deliver much of what the government wants but it needs the right levels of investment to succeed.”

CIHT believes that investing in highways and transportation will support:

  • Decarbonisation – the need for infrastructure to support modal shift to more sustainable modes and support to electrification of vehicles will require significant investment
  • Inequality – providing access to education and jobs for all needs a range of transport solutions. Our highways and transport networks need to be inclusive, designed and maintained for all to use.
  • Housing and sustainable communities – planning and development of sustainable communities in the right place with the right sustainable transport options requires an improved integration of planning and transport.
  • Health – a move to active travel will not only address decarbonisation and sustainable development but will have clear benefits for improved health as people walk and cycle more. Creating that change will require investment both in infrastructure and the resource to change behaviours.
  • Supporting the economy – effective transport infrastructure and systems are a fundamental requirement for a successful economy and all aspects of business across the UK whilst providing links that support international trade. Changes to the automotive and freight sectors through automation and electrification rely on the right infrastructure being in place for those changes to be effective.
  • Planning for the future – the Future of Mobility[1] and CIHT FUTURES[2] reports both highlighted the need for change in the way we think about the future of transport and make sure that the large investment required is used effectively.

CIHT has said that the government should focus their investment on 7 key areas:

  1. Developing a national transport strategy – the government must set out a clear vision and strategy that sets out how transport will contribute to key policy areas across the United Kingdom.  
  2. Providing certainty for the sector on key projects and programmes – the government needs to ensure longer-term funding certainty for the highways sector for local roads, devolved administrations and confirm the delivery plan for HS2 and the Levelling Up Fund.
  3. Improving the local highway network – the need to commit to deliver a four-point strategy[3] for the local highway network that will create a vision, funding and focus to the local highway network over the next ten years.
  4. Supporting a sustainable and healthy transport network – there needs to be support for the development of improved capability of professionals across the sector, the identifying of cross departmental funding to support the switch to sustainable and active travel and that the implementation and maintenance of sustainable transport is core to the post-Covid recovery work by the Department for Transport.
  5. Road Safety – CIHT calls for the Government to develop a long-term strategy to significantly reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads.
  6. Skills and capability – developing and upskilling the workforce to deliver the government’s transport strategy is vital to build and maintain the world-class transport infrastructure needed for the transition to net zero.
  7. Resilient networks – CIHT calls for transport resilience assessments to be made a statutory requirement for all transport asset owners to identify vulnerable areas.

CIHT’s full version of our previous submission to the CSR available here

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