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ICE submission to the Transport Committee inquiry on strategic road investment

06 February 2023

This submission discusses ICE’s views on some of the key challenges regarding the Government’s road investment programme including:

  • The impact of smart motorways, the inflexibility of the private finance initiative (PFI) funding model and development consent order (DCO) delays on the second road investment strategy (RIS2). Plus, the lessons that can be learned as a result.
  • A thorough review of how project planning with more realistic programming, a longer-term, more detailed design process, and the implementation of digital tools at an earlier stage of project lifecycles will improve the next third road investment strategy (RIS3) and future RIS programmes.
  • The RIS programme isn’t meeting the needs of consumers and businesses, whether within project catchment areas, or more widely. This must be addressed within RIS3, which must deliver more benefits on the ground for communities impacted by projects. Expectation management must be carried out more effectively in how projects are communicated to audiences.
  • Roads projects’ accurate level of spend must be predicted from the outset to ensure the needs of consumers and businesses are met.
  • National Highways and the government also need to focus on improving their engagement with businesses concerned with the logistical impacts of projects. Particularly, with key stakeholder groups such as local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), chambers of commerce, and organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
  • There’s a lack of alignment between the roads investment programme and other key policy priorities like levelling up and net zero. These must be better integrated into the development of future programmes. Better whole-life, social and environmental value should be integrated into National Highways’ development of projects.

The fragmentation of transport planning and functions between different bodies fails to produce coherently planned transport networks and services. Fragmentation undermines the achievability of long-term national priorities, such as net zero, climate resilience, and levelling up.

A National Transport Strategy for England could join up these disconnected strategies.

ICE submission to the Transport Committee inquiry on strategic road investment

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 04/04/2023

Author: ICE policy team

  • Laura Cunliffe-Hall, interim lead policy manager at ICE