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Local councils to get share of £5.8bn national road fund

The transport network needs an overhaul in some areas Photo:

The Government is expected to confirm its backing for the continuation of the High Speed 2 rail project through the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside later.

The announcement - from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, comes as part of the Government's new transport investment strategy, which it says will focus on transport projects which will help to rebalance the UK's economy.

Local roads are also set to benefit from local councils being given a share in a multi-billion pound improvement fund.

The Government is expected to confirm its preference for a new runway at Heathrow Airport

“Getting transport spending right is crucial for the country’s future.

“The Transport Investment Strategy sets out a blueprint for how we can harness the power of transport investment to drive balanced economic growth, unlock new housing projects, and support the Government’s modern industrial strategy.

“This government is taking the big transport decisions for Britain’s future like HS2 and Heathrow, while delivering the biggest investment in roads and rail for a generation.

“At the heart of our approach is a plan to make transport work for the people who use it and for the wider economy.”

– Chris Grayling MP, Transport Minister
£5.8 bn
Money raised by UK car / vehicle tax in 2016 /2017

The new strategy proposes the creation of a new Major Road Network, under which local authorities will be given a share of the National Road Fund - which is comprised of money from vehicle tax in the UK, a figure amounting to £5.8 billion pounds in the financial year 2016 - 2017. The councils would be able to use the money to improve or replace the most important A-roads under their management.

At present the money from the officially titled 'Vehicle Excise Duty-funded National Roads Fund', to give it its full name, is ringfenced for national road building projects.

The Department for Transport says that the money sharing objective - is a response to the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund study last year. The department's statement to the media said that 'the plans aim to improve the productivity and connectivity of towns and cities across the country by tackling bottlenecks and traffic jams for road users, and taking away the misery of lorries and through-traffic thundering through rural villages on main roads.'

The Conservative Government said it is investing more than £61bn over the five years to 2020/21, and that the process has been underway in recent years with the upgrading the road and rail networks. It outlined its new strategy, in a manifesto of sorts:

Ensuring our investment consistently meets the needs of users and helps to create a balanced economy:

  • We will prioritise reliability and congestion, economic growth, UK competitiveness and housing
  • Investment should support every part of the country, including taking account of the balance of spending between different regions

Getting best value out of the network and our investment, by:

  • Prioritising value for money
  • Getting the most from existing assets
  • Continuing to seek contributions from those who stand to benefit to support transport funding
  • Attracting more private finance

Maintaining a resolute focus on delivery

  • Prioritising predictable funding and a stable long-term pipeline of projects
  • Ensuring all schemes considered for funding take a pragmatic approach to delivery challenges
  • Where appropriate, prioritising smaller schemes which deliver quickly

Adaptability in the face of change

  • Where there is uncertainty, we will prioritise projects that are adaptable to change
  • Putting the UK at the forefront of new transport technology