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24 January 2024 - Work of National Highways - Oral evidence

Committee Transport Committee
Inquiry Work of National Highways

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Start times: 9:30am (private) 9:30am (public)

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National Highways Chief and Roads Minister quizzed by Transport Committee 

MPs will question the Chief Executive of National Highways and the Roads Minister on upgrades to the UK’s motorways and major A roads, smart motorways and safety concerns.

Meeting details

At 9:30am: Oral evidence
Work Work of National Highways (Regular evidence sessions)
Chief Executive at National Highways
Chief Customer and Strategy Officer at National Highways
Executive Director for Operations at National Highways
At 11:00am: Oral evidence
Work Work of National Highways (Regular evidence sessions)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads and Local Transport at Department for Transport
Director for Roads and Projects Delivery Infrastructure at Department for Transport

National Highways (NH) is the state-owned company that manages and delivers improvements to the country’s Strategic Road Network of motorways and major A roads. 

The cross-party Committee will ask for updates on findings of its 2023 report on NH’s investments in maintaining and upgrading the network. The company’s five-year Road Investment Strategies (RIS) were found to be overbudget and delayed due to planning an overly ambitious portfolio of works, and failures in assessing risks from cost pressures and legal challenges to projects.  

MPs will question NH Chief Nick Harris on lessons that have been learnt, and whether the company is prioritising maintenance over new infrastructure in its approach to planning RIS3, which will run from 2025. 

The Committee will also examine the company’s efforts to improve safety on Smart Motorways. There are concerns that the rate of road deaths and serious injuries has increased on three out of five all-lane running motorways that been in place for five years. MPs will also ask about attempts to improve stopped-vehicle-detection rates which are crucial to preventing collisions. 

There will be questions about NH’s target of reducing the number of serious injuries resulting from accidents by December 2025 compared to the average number of incidents between 2005-09. 

They will also ask about DfT’s work to improve service stations for lorry drivers, after long-term concerns that the UK’s haulage workforce experiences recruitment and retention problems due to the poor quality of facilities on the network, and its impacts on drivers’ welfare. The Department allocated an initial £8m to service station operators last year, following a bidding process for a total of £52.5 million of funds for improvements to driver facilities. 

There will also be questions about efforts to improve service station connections to the National Grid to enable the rollout of EV charging, and NH’s 2021 strategy to improve its use of technology and data for surveying the quality of roads, tracking incidents and monitoring congestion.  


The Grimond Room, Portcullis House

How to attend