Govt urged to privatise roads

25 June 2012 The private sector is eager to invest in the UK’s road network and is encouraging the government to open up roads to new models of private partnership, a survey has revealed.
The poll undertaken by technical advisory LeighFisher found that 83% of respondents were either interested or very interested in investing in England’s strategic highway network.

Prime Minister David Cameron revealed ahead of the March Budget that the Department for Transport and Treasury are looking into innovative ways to fund Britain’s road network and are due to submit a joint report in the autumn.

However, Cameron ruled out the prospect of tolling existing roads, and although he left the door open to introduce tolls on new routes, the survey suggests few see much scope in this approach.

Although 90% of respondents thought there was potential for some new toll roads, half of those suggested it is unlikely that any more than two new toll roads could be introduced into the network.

“The backlog of investment needed to address the deteriorating state of the nation’s roads is set at £10bn and a decade of work,” said LeighFisher vice-president Chris Wilson. “Many councils are sitting on undeveloped sites and stalled regeneration schemes which could be revitalised by accessible transport links.”

The survey also found half were interested in leases of 35 years or longer, or the outright purchase of roads, while 60% thought it likely that government will secure support to proceed with some form of privatisation.

This page was last updated on:
15 September 2014.

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