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Inquiry launched into Strategic Road Investment in England

20 December 2022

The Transport Committee today launches a new inquiry into the Government’s current five-year plan for investing in major roads and motorways. 

The inquiry comes after a National Audit Office report stated that the Department for Transport’s current Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), which runs from 2020-25, will go billions over its original budget. The added costs are due to delays in carrying out work on various projects combined with inflationary pressures in the economy. 

The report said the Department and National Highways could have done more to manage potential risks to the portfolio of works in RIS2, which has led to less work being completed. Eleven out of 69 road investment projects that were originally planned have also been cut. 

The strategic road network in England comprises more than 4,300 miles of motorways and major A-roads. 

This inquiry will look into how well the current Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) is being managed. It will also examine how planning for Road Investment Strategy 3, from 2025-2030, is being undertaken. 

Chair's comment

Transport Committee Chair Iain Stewart MP said: 

“Careful scrutiny is needed over which projects can be delivered, when by, and at what expense to the taxpayer.  

“RIS2 was an ambitious strategy, with a budget nearly twice that of RIS1, which spanned the five years to 2020. It still stands to play an important role in improving the country’s infrastructure and boosting local economies. However, we must make sure lessons are learned so that time and money are not wasted in future. 

“We will also investigate how future investments in road infrastructure will tie in with the Government’s overarching policies of levelling up left behind areas, and dramatically cutting carbon emissions.” 

Call for evidence 

The Transport Committee would like to receive written evidence that addresses the following points. Submissions can be sent to the Committee via our website until Monday, 6th February.

  • How effectively the RIS2 enhancements portfolio has been managed to date;
  • Whether risks to the enhancements portfolio for the remainder of the RIS2 period are being well managed;
  • What the impacts of delays and cost overruns are on the overall programme, and whether the revised programme can be delivered to schedule and on budget;
  • What progress is being made on planning for the next Road Investment Strategy;
  • What lessons from RIS2 need to be incorporated into RIS3 to ensure it is achievable and delivers on policy objectives;
  • Whether the Government’s current and forthcoming roads investment programme is meeting the current and future needs of consumers and business;
  • Whether the Government’s roads investment programme aligns with other policy priorities, such as decarbonisation, levelling up, productivity and growth;
  • How RIS3 should take account of technological developments, and evidence on ways of increasing capacity on the Strategic Road Network (such as smart motorways and potential alternatives to them).

Image: PA