Campaigners have called on Highways England to use a reported £180m windfall to offset the environmental impact of existing roads.
The Times reported that the new owners of the M6 Toll road are expected to pay off a ‘land fund’ obligation, which covers the cost of leasing the land from the Government.
Australian pension fund IFM Investors has gained control of the pay-to-use motorway after buying its debt from a group of lenders.
Government-owned Highways England, which manages the strategic road network, will receive a windfall of around £180m thanks to a clause dating back to the opening of the toll road in 2003, the Times said.
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘The M6 toll has been a costly failure over the years. Highways England should use this windfall to offset the environmental impact of existing roads in the region, which local people have suffered for far too long, rather than squander it on yet more road building.’
In recent months, both the Office of Rail and Road and the National Audit Office have told Highways England to take action to address an £800m funding shortfall in its spending plans under the current Road Investment Strategy.
A Department for Transport spokesperson told Transport Network: 'The sale [of the land fund obligation] is under way but as it is a commercial process we cannot comment further.'