The Government has declined to deny reports that the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) is to be delayed further.
RIS 2, which covers a five-year period from next month, is now significantly overdue.
The A66 Trans-Pennine expressway dualling scheme
Although the Government has repeatedly pledged that it will provide £25.3bn funding for the plan and has even revealed some the schemes to be taken forward, the statutory document setting out the official programme remains unpublished.
It has been widely expected that RIS2 will be published alongside this week’s Budget.
However, according to the Times, the Department for Transport (DfT) has now ‘pulled’ the document subject to a reappraisal, which it linked to the recent court ruling that expansion plans for Heathrow airport unlawfully failed to take climate change into account.
The paper said the plan is now unlikely to be published for several months and some road schemes could be scrapped altogether.
The DfT did not comment directly on the report but suggested that it expected the document to be published ‘shortly’.
Two major Highways England roadbuilding schemes – the A303 tunnel at Stonehenge and the roads for the Lower Thames Crossing – sit outside RIS2 but are currently lacking funding after the then chancellor, Philip Hammond, placed a moratorium on existing forms of private finance.
It has been reported that ministers are considering scrapping the Stonehenge tunnel after a projected cost increase took the potential bill above £2bn.