A plan by the Government to improve the major road network by giving priority status to funding across a much wider range of roads and motorway projects has been welcomed by the haulage industry and those fulfilling transport contracts for a living.
The Government has pledged to double the number of roads and motorways given priority funding once the plans have gone out to consultation later this year.
In a parallel move, the Government has also said that the Vehicle Excise Duty will be used to fund the upkeep of highways, in an effort to improve the quality of the UK’s current road network.
Solidifying the Strategic Road Network
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says that this is part of a newly updated transport investment strategy by this Government. He confirmed that the extra funding would be used to improve the Strategic Road Network by increasing investment in traffic-easing schemes like bypasses around congested towns and cities.
Grayling claimed that the Government was committed to improving a range of different types of roads to effectively create a new working tier between those of the Strategic Road Network and existing local roads.
Responses from the Industry
The move has been welcomed by the RHA, who believes it will help haulage workers fulfil more transport contracts, by easing traffic on major routes and thereby decreasing journey times.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA, said: “Unlike the many thousands of motorists who use the road network everyday, the UK’s roads and motorways are a haulier’s workplace.”
The RHA also pointed out that while it will make it easier for a haulier to fulfil a transport contract, the investment would also have a positive impact on residents in congested areas and those in rural areas who currently endure ongoing disturbance from HGV traffic.
The FTA also welcomed the news. Christopher Snelling, head of national policy at the FTA, said: “The government focus on investing in roads which will deliver improved performance, economic growth and reduce bottlenecks, is correct.”
One council in which the new funding scheme is likely to be eagerly anticipated is the Northamptonshire County Council, which has been battling to reduce traffic issues around villages like Isham. The infamous bypass in the area has caused problems to local residents and transport contract workers alike, and it is hoped that new investment will help to resolve the issue and others like it.
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The Isham bypass is a priority scheme for the county council and we are committed to making it happen. Not only will it help benefit economic growth in the county but it will also bring much-needed relief to the village of Isham.”
The increased funding proposal will be put out to consultation later this year with investment and maintenance improvements in the national major road network likely to follow within the next few years. We may not be there yet, but if these plans go ahead, the roads might just become an easier workplace for drivers in the future.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching drivers with a suitable transport contract. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.