The Transport committee has begun taking evidence in its inquiry into Strategic road investment by questioning Dame Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary at the DfT, Emma Ward Director General for the Department’s Roads, Places and Environment Group and Nick Harris, Chief Executive at National Highways.
MPs raised questions on what progress is being made on planning for the next Road Investment Strategy and what lessons from RIS2 need to be incorporated into RIS3 to ensure it is achievable and delivers on policy objectives. There were discussions about anticipating further environmental challenges that could delay schemes and raise costs and on the future of smart motorways and potential alternatives to them.
This inquiry is looking into how well the current Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) is being managed, and what the Government’s priorities should be for future investment.
It follows the National Audit Office (NAO) report published last November on progress in delivery and management of the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), which runs from 2020 to 2025. The NAO’s report said that the Department for Transport and National Highways could have done more to manage the potential risks to the portfolio of enhancement works in RIS2 which has led to less work being completed, at a higher cost than planned. Planning is underway for Road Investment Strategy
3, which will run from 2025 to 2030. The NAO report also said that difficult decisions would need to be made when prioritising future road enhancement projects as a result of inflationary cost pressures.
The Oral evidence of Dame Bernadette, Emma Ward and Nick Harris can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/3x1WWJu
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