Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New name for Highways Agency ‘befits new remit’ . . .


New name for Highways Agency ‘befits new remit’

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The Highways Agency’s transformation from government agency to government-owned company will be accompanied by a rebrand, the government has announced.

The agency, which operates and maintains England’s strategic road network and is currently part of the Department for Transport (DfT), will be renamed Highways England from April 2015.

Highways England will be responsible for delivering the £15 billion of road improvements recently announced by government; and the switch to government-owned company status “will ensure greater certainty over the upgrades planned between now and 2021,” DfT claims. The move is expected to save taxpayers £2.6bn over the next decade.

Roads minister John Hayes said: “It is only right that the new government-owned company has a name that reflects its new role, as a road operator that delivers a fast, efficient and better service for road users and the country.”

The Freight Transport Association said the name for the newly formed company would underline the importance of its new remit.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy, said: “FTA has supported the change in the function of the Highways Agency; now the new title of Highways England will reflect the remit of the new organisation which we believe is important.

“The new organisation will provide a developing strategic road network of motorways and trunk roads for the next five years. FTA has been and will continue to work closely with the new governance arrangements to ensure that the road freight users’ voice is fully represented.”

Related changes also being brought forward in the government’s Infrastructure Bill include a new strategic road network monitor role for the Office of Rail Regulation, which will publish information on Highways England’s performance and have the power to take action where this is found wanting.

Meanwhile, the independent passenger watchdog Passenger Focus will be renamed Transport Focus, which DfT says will: “provide road users with a stronger voice in how roads are managed and maintained.”

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