National Highways outlines road plans for 2025 to 2030

Picture courtesy of National Highways website

National Highways has outlined plans for England’s motorways and major A-roads in its Strategic Road Network Initial Report (SRNIR) for 2025 to 2030.

The report makes a number of recommendations, a month after the government took the decision to scrap plans for new smart motorways over “lack of public confidence and cost pressures due to inflation”.

The scrapped smart motorways included the 11 that had already been paused, which had been part of the National Highways strategy for 2020 to 2025.

A further three smart motorways that were due to be included in the latest SRNIR were also scrapped. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying all drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country and he was making good on a promise from last year to scrap smart motorways.

However, National Highways says the new plans for 2025 to 2030 will still increase investment in small-scale local improvements proposed to tackle known congestion hotspots and grow the economy.

They also include a safety drive to target single carriageway A-roads and support for the installation of 2,500 new rapid electric vehicle chargers.

Nick Harris, National Highways’ Chief Executive, said: “Our network of motorways and A-roads has a critical role to play over the next 30 years in supporting growth and levelling up. They bind together the regions and nations of the UK, facilitating national and international trade, and even under conservative forecasts demand for the network will continue to increase up to 2050.   

“While we strive to maintain safe and reliable journeys for the vehicles that rely on our network each day, we know that ever higher levels of social and environmental responsibility will, quite rightly, be required of us. This means we will need to find new and innovative ways to continue connecting the country by facilitating active travel and public transport, and also using digital technology to help customers make more informed decisions and managing our network more efficiently.” 

Richard Holden, Roads Minister, added: “Our roads are vital to our economy, and the plans set out today will help to enhance connectivity and boost growth, while protecting the environment. 

“Working with National Highways, we are committed to delivering safe, reliable journeys and reducing congestion in a way supports our path to net zero.” 

The Initial Report will be subject to an eight-week consultation by the Department for Transport. 

It is published alongside National Highways’ long-term strategic plan, Connecting the Country. 

This sets out the company’s priorities for the network up to 2050, with demand for roads from zero-emission vehicles expected to remain strong as part of a seamlessly integrated transport system.   

Separately, 20 separate Route Strategies were also released, which help develop and maintain a detailed evidence base on the performance of the network – identifying current issues and understanding potential future challenges.  

Alongside this, National Highways publishes its new Environmental Sustainability Strategy which sets out the company’s long-term vision to manage roads in a more sustainable way, ensuring the network can be used as a force for good. 

By 2030, maintenance and construction emissions will be cut by up to 50% by minimising new works, using lean construction practices and carbon management approaches. 

National Highways’ own corporate emissions will also be cut to net zero by 2030 – without the use of purchased offsetting – through the transition to renewable energy, converting most road lighting to low-energy LEDs and other initiatives such as transitioning all traffic officer vehicles to electric power.   

The DfT will consult widely on the initial plan to inform the development of its draft Road Investment Strategy (RIS) for the third road period, from 2025 to 2030.  Any decisions on National Highways’ proposals will also be subject to decisions on levels of funding for the five-year period, which are yet to be finalised. 

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