The transport sector’s specialist technical body has set out 12 priority considerations to ‘transform the narrative’ around roads, including reviving the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP).
The Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG) has published a new position statement setting out ‘key priority considerations for current budget considerations’.
President John Lamb said the document, Transforming the Narrative - Better Roads Smarter Travel 2025, seeks to create fresh thinking that applies technology and transformation to how we create more mobility on better quality roads and footways’.
He said: ‘As the UK’s leading technical body supporting local councils we are keen to ensure that better transport is rightly placed at the heart of difficult choices to stimulate local economies and enhance international trade.
‘As president, I am keen to create a broad consensus on how we reshape current funding to achieve stated Government priorities and create vibrant, lively and attractive communities.’
The document adds seven points to the five priorities listed TAG’s submission to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into local roads funding and governance.
They include a 'continued and crucial role' for HMEP, which the document acknowledges ‘has not moved forward’ since the removal of Department for Transport funding and the move to a self-management model.
In relation to ‘supporting growth’ the document argues that ‘there is also a need to consider the success of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), which ran from 2011 to 2016.
‘LSTF was shown to be well received and created sustainable ways to meet the needs of growing economies…Transport choice must be reconsidered through new optics of the national obesity crisis, declining air quality and the cost of congestion. The prescription to this £45bn toxic cocktail is more cycling, walking and bus.’
On the same theme, the document states: ‘We welcome hypothecation of funds to the MRN [major road network] and this must be the start of a better funding model that HE currently benefits from.’
However it criticises the current focus of MRN to build more road and support car travel, arguing that it would be better spend on maintaining the existing classified road network.
The 12 priorities are:
- Better understand the Pothole Backlog
- Multiyear settlement
- TotEx the common sense approach to investment
- One Single Funding Stream for Highway Authorities Future of Condition Surveys and Asset Information
- Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme
- Supporting growth
- Funding for Bus Services
- Road Safety Funding
- Transforming Traffic Technology
- Resilient Networks
- Intelligent Clients