posted 5 years ago

New Highways Agency Could Save Taxpayers £2.6 Billion

Highways Agency Likely To Become Government-Owned Company

The Highways Agency could be transformed into a government-owned company that saves the taxpayer £2.6 billion over the next ten years. As things stand, it is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport – which is a semi-independent organisation responsible for implementing the government's objectives, e.g. to maintain roads. The government has claimed that creating a company would give the Highways Agency a “high degree of day-to-day freedom by removing central government from operational decisions”. This could protect it from the varying objectives of successive ministers. It might also allow it to “create clear incentives to drive efficiency” that save money and resources. Furthermore, a watchdog could be created to “better reflect the views of motorists” and monitor the company's performance. So, the government has - before finalising any details – launched a consultation seeking the public's views on its proposals. 

Minister Discusses Highways Agency Company

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This government has committed to the biggest ever investment in our road network worth £50 billion over the next 15 years, but we need to make sure it is spent wisely. Transforming the Highways Agency into a government-owned company means long-term savings for the taxpayer, and making sure our roads are fit for the 21st century – supporting jobs and growth across the economy.” He added: “I also want motorists to have a greater say in how their roads are run and that is why I have proposed an independent watchdog - free from government - is set up to make sure the Highways Agency is delivering the wants, needs and expectations of motorists.

Role Of The Highways Agency

The Highways Agency was created in March 1994 to support the country's economy by operating, maintaining, and improving the Strategic Road Network in England. This incorporates more than four-thousand miles of motorway and a-roads that move people/goods. Whereas this only accounts for approximately two percent of the country's roads by length, it carries one-third of all traffic by mileage. Significantly, this includes two-thirds of heavy goods vehicle traffic which is vital to the economy. The Agency's typical tasks include improving key routes to better cope with traffic. Details of any forthcoming initiatives can be found on its website. It also operates smart motorways, sets the standards building constructors must adhere to and keeps motorists up to date with traffic information. 


I like the idea of taxing non-UK vehicles on our roads, however, if we look to the big picture, if goods vehicles importing into the UK pay additional tax who do you think will pay the tax? The company will increase the manufactures cost by increasing delivery cost thus the manufactures will increase there production costs thus increasing their product cost - and who buys the guessed it. When will people appreciate that companies never lose out on increased production costs - we do as the consumer. I don't have an answer, as it stands neither does the govt. its not all that simple is it. In my view we are lucky to have the standard of living we have, I have seen comments here slating the govt. When was the last time you went hungry? And the last time your kids were turned away from school, or from hospital? Bit more positivity and less winging would save the taxpayer tens of billions in time and needless redtape.

I wouldnt trust the government to walk my granny across the road. When considering the question being asked, one needs to be fully informed of the facts. We are NEVER fully informed of the facts. One needs to know what is the motive and intention behind this proposal and we will never be privy to that. We are taxed to oblivion but we get very little in return. If a 1/4 of what is taken by road tax was spent repairing our roads, we would have the best roads on the planet.

At this point in time, the current Highways Agency seems to be working, so why mend what aint broke? As some have said, invest in a sound Rail Network. None Privatised so it wouldn't lining the pockets of the Big Fat Cats.

Couldn’t agree more with Clive Shackleton’s comments on taxing none UK vehicles. Our government backed down I think in the sixties and allowed larger lories from the continent to use our roads even though a lot of roads (ie urban) were never designed for this usage.

I do not think that the government should take over the highways agency as ever it will be a complete carve up and then it would be sold off

Many of the emails here make brilliant sense. They should be passed to the government; surely some of these ideas could be implemented. - please see that they are passed on.

Once it's a company they'll sell it off and it'll have to make a profit. I wonder how it'll do that and who will pay

@Clive Shackleton You don't pay "road tax", you pay VED. VED is a car tax and is based on your carbon emissions or engine size; this does not pay directly for the roads you use. What does pay for the roads we use is general taxation; this comes from VAT, income tax, fuel duty, alcohol duty etc. So if these foreign cars/lorries buy food, fuel etc. From our country they are paying for the use of the roads as well.

Vehicles both large & small arriving in the UK from abroad should receive a dated pass at the point of entry and then pay a daily ROAD TAX at the point of exit. This should equate to the equivalent road tax paid by UK TAX PAYERS.

@Aga kosinska You are not paying "road tax"; you are paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), it is a car tax and is based on your carbon emissions or engine size. VED is a general taxation and none of it pays directly for the roads you drive on, it has been this way since 1937. “Motoring taxation is made up of two elements: vehicle excise duty (VED) – a tax on ownership; and fuel duty – a tax on use. Although historically the road fund tax was considered a hypothecated tax to pay for the building and maintenance of the road network, this has not been so since 1937 and it is now a general revenue raising tax.”

Cut the amount of fuel that lorries can carry, then they have to refill when they are on journeys. Also the road duty licence money for the roads, and nothing else. Keep lorry sizes down, it is always a lorry that causes an accident on motorways and other roads. Cut their spped to 50 mph!!!!

Why large engine cars pay more road tax for small cars if they use same roads and same time small cars owners use more motorway.The road tax need to be price how much owner made mileages!

The lorries that come from, mainly eastern europe, have fuel tanks the size of baths. Why not limit the amount of fuel that foreign lorries can bring into the country forcing them to fill up here and pay fuel duty. No need to set up a new company, lorries couldbe 'dipped' when they enter the country.

This government is committed to the biggest ever investment in our road system etc etc it is stated so then why are the roads in such a bad state? on some roads there are more potholes than there are in most quarries. disgusting and unsafe. but as usual the cuckoo,s are in cuckoo land or the gentlemens clubs

I already pay to park on the road outside my house and often have to park a long way from it. The Swiss system of charging for Motorway pass is a good idea but it will no doubt go the way of road tax and pay for some other government initiative

Save 2.6 billion???? History shows that all these attempts to save money actually cost us more in the long run. We already pay road fund licence fees, if all the income was spent on roads we would have the best in the world!!!

So lets see create a company that runs our roads, reduce staff and costs make it a profitable entity then sell it off to the highest bidder so that they can run it like the railway, the Energy markets, the water companies. Very soon you will be paying to park your car on the road outside your house as well as road tax. Just a thought.

in Switzerland you have to purchase a ticket to use their motorways. big fine if you are found using them without one.

Good Idea from Rachel Green, charge them a toll at point of entry, that would raise lots of cash, our transport companies have to pay tolls on European roads, lets have a level playing field. Yes abandon HS2. The watchdog should have motoring organisation heads on board to make sure motorists are represented and give the watchdog some real teeth.

So a Highways Agency by another name. I assume it would be resourced by much the same staff and management as the current organisation so what will be different? How will savings be made in reality? It sounds like just another publicity exercise that is unlikely to bear any fruit for the motoring public? The real issues are more likely than not the overheads for managing an operation with such wide and important scope, and the need to manage all works to minimise the impact on the public whilst ongoing. Improvements must be seen to be achieved and not just hot air about good ideas and intentions.

Boost road revenue!!!!! When foreign vehicle enter the UK they should be made to buy a temporary road fund licience at the point of entry into the UK. This should be done on a mileage basis for wagons and daily rate for cars etc There should be an admin charge if this is not applied for before entry into the uk. Why should UK motorist fund vehicle using the UK roads?

Great idea but what if the best way of saving money or improving traffic is to develop or improve the rail network. We need an integrated transport policy that works together, how about the same for rail working hand in hand with motorways - we could see if the HS2 money could be spent more efficiently!