Written statement to Parliament

Publication of further information on governance arrangements in support of the roads reform elements of the Infrastructure Bill

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Announces publication of governance documents for the new strategic highways company.

In our response to the consultation on transforming the Highways Agency into a government-owned strategic highways company (April 2014), government committed to publishing further details about the governance regime for the new company, to provide important context to the roads reform legislation in the Infrastructure Bill.

Today (23 June 2014) I am publishing a suite of documents that set out details of the key elements that together will form a cohesive and robust governance framework for the new company. This will allow it the autonomy and flexibility to operate, manage and enhance the network on a day-to-day basis and deliver more efficiently, while ensuring it acts transparently, remains accountable to government, road users and taxpayers, and continues to run the network in the public interest.

The documents being published today are:

  • Transforming our strategic roads – a summary, an introduction to roads reform that summarises the reasons for change, what this involves, how the new regime will work and the benefits the change will deliver for road users and the nation as a whole
  • Strategic highways company: draft licence, an outline draft of the licence for the company, in which the Secretary of State for Transport will issue statutory directions and guidance, setting objectives and conditions around how the company must act
  • Setting the road investment strategy: now and in the future, a draft description of the elements that will form a road investment strategy (RIS), and further information about the process for developing the first and future RIS documents.

I am also publishing further information about the purpose and content of the Framework document and Articles of association for the company and how these will be developed. These elements are not directly relevant to the legislation, but will form important parts of the governance regime for the new company.

Taken together with the measures in part 1 of the Infrastructure Bill, this governance regime will provide a strong, certain framework for managing our roads. It will strengthen accountability, drive efficiency and increase transparency and create far more certain conditions for investment, enabling the supply chain to gear up for the government’s ambitious plans for the future. This will support the economy, promote jobs and skills and ultimately transform the quality of our national infrastructure and the quality of service for road users. We look to move to the new model with minimal disruption.

As the bill remains subject to Parliamentary approval, these documents remain subject to change.

A copy of each of these documents will be placed in the libraries of both Houses and will be available on GOV.UK.