Campaigners attack national 'scrutiny gap' between road and rail

 

Campaigners have accused the Government of allowing oversight of the Strategic Road Network to fall far short of what is applied to Network Rail.

The complaints come after a six-week over-run on a £6m Highways Agency scheme south of Chester.

The Highways Agency has deferred completion of the A55 and A483 pinch-point project until May, citing problems with the weather, drainage and bridge strengthening.

The delay creates significant congestion for drivers and freight vehicles every day, however road campaigners have complained the works have not made national headlines in contrast to the rail delays that affected fewer people and no freight around Christmas.

Difficulties at Finsbury Park and King’s Cross train stations lasted one day over the holiday period, and issues at Paddington only six hours yet resulted in several official reports, a rebuke from the transport secretary and Network Rail’s chief executive foregoing his bonus.

Luke Bosdet of the AA contrasted this with delayed motorists, suggesting they often had nowhere to vent their anger.

‘If it’s a local road project, the complaints go in to the MPs who then take the issue up. If it’s on a motorway, it’s much less likely to go to the local political representatives. There isn’t anybody really to complain to, other than perhaps writing letters to the Department for Transport,’ he said.

Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport also said there was a lack of accountability for highways works but closer scrutiny would follow the creation of the future Highways England.

In response, the passenger watchdog for the soon-to-be reformed Highways Agency has vowed scrutiny procedures will increase under the new regime starting in April. Passenger Focus - soon to be renamed Transport Focus - will represent the users of the strategic road network under the new Highways England body.

Speaking exclusively to Transport Network, Mike Hewitson, head of policy at Passenger Focus responded to complaints by vowing tighter scrutiny under the reforms brought about by the Infrastructure Act.

A spokesman highlighted that the Office of Rail Regulation will have a statutory role in monitoring the Highways Agency against a series of performance, cost and efficiency metrics, adding that ‘the presence of these targets and the publishing of regular performance reports against them will increase the degree and the transparency of scrutiny in the very near future’.

‘Our function is to represent the interests of users of the Strategic Road Network. We will be ensuring that the voice of the user is used in shaping policy and decision-making – the aim being to put users at the heart of the system,’ he said.

‘The more that investment and policy focuses on what the end-users want the better those services will be. We are keen to quickly understand as much as we can about road users. We have started this through research looking at the “needs and experiences of road users” and road users’ priorities for improvement.’

 

Also see

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Transport Development Engineer

Bristol City Council
£22,021 - £23,836
An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Strategic Transport team for a junior engineer to join our Transport Development Management (TDM) team. Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Transport Development Management Co-ordinator

Bristol City Council
£38,813 - £41,675
An exciting opportunity has arisen within Transport Development Management (TDM) City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Contracts Manager - Core Service

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683 per year
The successful candidate will manage and maintain Highways partnerships and contractual arrangements to ensure effective, quality and value for... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Transport Inspectors – Land & Maritime Security

Department for Transport
£33,990 - £36,880
Looking for Transport Security Inspectors to join our team to focus on direct monitoring and assessing of industry compliance against... London (Greater)
Recuriter: Department for Transport

Lead Engineer [Development]

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£40,760 - £41,675 per annum
Looking for an exciting new opportunity? Join us in Knowsley’s Major Development Team! Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Principal Engineer [Development]

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£34,788 - £35,934 per annum
Looking for an exciting new opportunity? Join us in Knowsley’s Major Development Team! Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Project Officer - Air Quality

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
The successful candidate will ideally have a relevant degree or professional qualification. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Arborist

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£24.462 - £25.809
Seeking an experienced Climbing Arborist who has NPTC / LANTRA qualifications in chainsaw use and climbing operation units for an... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environmental Enforcement Patrol Officer

Brent Council
£31,548 - £33,291 p.a. inc.
Looking for a person who has experience in undertaking enforcement work, carrying out awareness raising/promotional work.  Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Traffic Management Operative/Foreman

Balfour Beatty
Competitive
Are you a Traffic Management Operative/Foreman with Highspeed (12AB) Qualifications, looking for a new and exciting opportunity? If so read on..... Leatherhead, Surrey
Recuriter: Balfour Beatty

Principal Economic Growth Officer

Essex County Council
Up to £45,000 per annum
It is an exciting time to be joining the Economic Growth team at Essex County Council. Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Economic Infrastructure Manager

Essex County Council
Up to £57,000 per annum
It is an exciting time to be joining the Economic Growth team at Essex County Council Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Service - Highways

Sheffield City Council
£69,091 - £74,137
Looking for someone dynamic, with vision, energy, and an outward focus who can build strong relationships with all key partners, stakeholders with... Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Sheffield City Council

Senior Transport Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £35,934
You will be responsible for assisting the Team Manager with the day to day operational management and delivery of the transport service.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

PCN Appeals Officer

Brent Council
£26,745 - £30,711 p.a. inc.
Looking for an experienced parking professional to join the Notice Processing Team. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Environmental Protection Officer

London Borough of Sutton & The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames
£25,809 to £33,291 (Grade F-G) / £33,291 to £42,684 (Grade H-I)
As an Environmental Protection Officer, you will be part of a small multidisciplinary team delivering a range of statutory environmental functions... Kingston Upon Thames (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Sutton & The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames

Environmental Protection Team Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£44.607 - £47.511
We would like to hear from exceptional candidates with broad pollution control experience and a can-do attitude who... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highways Gang Leader

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
An exciting opportunity for a Highways Gang Leader has arose based at Taylors Lane, Oldbury. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Road Agreements Team Leader OCC5803

Oxfordshire County Council
£49,522 - £56,481 per annum
Take the next step in your career - click here to find out more information. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Highways and Street Lighting Manager

London Borough of Bromley
Circa £43,000 per annum
Seeking an experienced professional with experience in highway, street lighting and traffic engineering. Bromley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bromley