The conference followed the publication of the one-year Spending Review for 2020-21 and the agenda focused on the next steps for the funding and future development of the road network in England - focusing on priorities for future investment in road infrastructure and delivery of key projects.
Policymakers and stakeholders assessed the priorities for the Draft Road Investment Strategy 2, including:
- its relationship with local and combined authorities regarding the setting of priorities and delivery of key projects; and
- key issues for meeting the intended objectives of delivering a network which supports the economy that is safer and more reliable, greener, more integrated and smarter.
Sessions also examined the future finance of road projects and includeed discussion on:
- alternative approaches to funding, include road user charging; and
- what more is needed to encourage long-term investment, reduce delivery costs and mitigate the environmental impact of the Strategic Road Network.
The agenda and keynote speakers included
- Delivering RIS2 - with Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive, Highways England;
- Monitoring road development and setting targets for investment delivery - with Richard Coates, Deputy Director, Highways, Office of Rail and Road;
- The outlook for England’s road infrastructure - with Martin Tugwell, President, Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation and Programme Director, England’s Economic Heartland;
- Alternative road investment models - with Nick Prior, Global Head Infrastructure & Capital Projects, Deloitte.
- Addressing barriers to long-term investment, project delivery and developing regional strategies - with Maria Machancoses, Director, Midlands Connect; Rupert Lugg, Director, Burges Salmon; Mark Kemp, Chair, Transport and Connectivity Board, ADEPT and Director, Environment and Infrastructure, Hertfordshire County Council; Alan Dinsdale, Business Development Director, Highways, Kier Group and Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association.
- Delivering the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway - from Naomi Green, Head of Technical Programme, England’s Economic Heartland
The context for discussion included:
- The Draft Road Investment Strategy 2, which set out priorities for the Strategic Road Network (SRN) from 2020-25 and was backed by £25bn and Highways England Delivery Plan for 2019/20 which outlined delivery objectives for the next year;
- The interim government response to the National Infrastructure Assessment produced by the NIC, which set out priorities for the development of the UK’s transport infrastructure ahead of a full Infrastructure Strategy also expected later this year;
- ORR’s Annual Assessment of Highways England’s performance - which found Highways England to be doing a good job overall - but called for improvement in road user satisfaction;
- An additional £2.5m being made available for improving on-street electric car charging underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy; and
- The announcement of Highways England awarding contracts on England’s motorways and major A-roads.
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