For the last twelve weeks, the Department for Transport has been consulting on their proposals for the creation of a new Major Road Network to support investment in enhancements and major renewal schemes along some of our most economically important local and regional roads.
Our motorways and major A-roads (4,400 miles of which form the backbone of the UK’s Strategic Road Network) already benefit from national investment through the DfT’s Road Investment Strategy, and the other 180,000-odd miles of road have fallen under the purview of the relevant local authority. This has meant that, for many roads that pass through more than one local authority, there hasn’t been a way to bring pooled funding together to deliver much needed improvements, above and beyond the money available to each individual area.
I therefore have welcomed the proposals put forward for the new Major Road Network, which would support some of our busiest roads that are not part of the Strategic Road Network, and have provided my own response to the DfT’s consultation. You can read a copy of that response here, but some of the main points I made that are of local interest are:
- Improvement works should be future-proofed to include traffic growth;
- Local representatives and road users should be consulted prior to the publication of a final agreed network;
- Highways England’s involvement with the Major Road Network should not lead to conflict of interest with their oversight of the Strategic Road Network;
- The funding threshold for Major Road Network schemes should be lowered from £20m to £5m;
- Contributions from the HS2 community funds should be considered for joint Major Road Network schemes in areas affected by HS2 construction traffic;
- Funding should support wider projects linked to the Strategic Road Network.
I look forward to the Major Road Network being established, and I will be supporting schemes in my South Northamptonshire constituency through the National Roads Fund, including but not limited to the Farthinghoe Bypass on the A422, the Towcester Relief Road, and a bypass for Roade on the A508.