DfT starts consultation on giving metro mayors more highway management powers

The Department for Transport (DfT) has started a public consultation on potential proposals to give metro mayors and their combined authorities greater decision-making powers and accountability with regards to the Key Route Network (KRN).

The proposals include providing mayors with additional highway management powers as well as giving them sole or concurrent highway powers over the key route networks.

It has also been suggested in the proposals that mayors should be able to give combined authorities the ability to delegate highway powers to local authorities as well as to direct them to deliver schemes agreed in their local transport plans. If agreed, this would also give mayors or constituent local authorities the ability to request responsibility for a route by order of the Transport Secretary.

Key Route Networks (KRNs) are a network of some of the most important roads in a combined authority for which an MCA and its constituent authorities both hold powers. KRNs are typically the busiest main roads; side streets do not, and some other main roads may not, form part of the KRN. The KRN landscape is complex with a mixture of arrangements across the country.

“We recognise that mayors and their city-region transport authorities need to be fully empowered to do their job. With this in mind, the Government is committed to enabling mayors to have the highway powers necessary to deliver on their wider cross-cutting transport priorities and make the changes that are necessary to ensure transport
functions optimally across their city region,” said the DfT consultation paper.

In July 2020, the Government committed in ‘Gear Change’,1 the Prime Minister’s cycling and walking plan for England to consult on increasing the powers of mayors over their KRNs, similar to the powers that already apply in London, with a view to enabling a more integrated and holistic approach across MCAs to the allocation of road space and new infrastructure, supporting improved traffic flow and more new cycling and walking infrastructure.

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