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|Highways England Traffic Officers • Office for Rail and Road • Transport Focus • Department for Transport|
Highways England is the agency responsible for the operation of England's trunk roads network, which includes most of the country's motorways, as well as the most major A-class roads, by using the same areas allocated by the Highways Agency. Under its new structure it is equivalent to Network Rail, the publicly owned company tasked with maintaining and improving the Rail Network and sits under the Department for Transport.
It has no responsibilities for the Principal road network, which are the responsibility of the local Highway Authority. It also has no authority over roads outside of England except for the M48 Severn and Wye Bridges and the M4 Second Severn Crossing in Wales, which came into public ownership in 2018. Its counterparts are Transport Scotland, North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent, South Wales Trunk Road Agent and DfI Roads.
It maintains the Strategic Road Network, also known as the Trunk Road Network, which includes most motorways and the most important A-Roads in the country. Their network totals around 4,300 miles of roads, ranging from the extremely busy M25 near Heathrow, to roads not much more than winding B-roads in places, like the A49 and A64.
Highways England replaced the Highways Agency on 1 April 2015.
Aims and Objectives
Highways England has three key aims that it wishes to achieve. These are:
- Provide a free flowing network where routine delays are infrequent and journeys are reliable,
- Maintain a safe and serviceable network where no-one should be harmed when travelling or working,
- Have an accessible and integrated network so people are free to choose their mode of transport and can move safely across and alongside our roads.
It also aims to help and stimulate economic growth by providing a modern and reliable network that not only copes with current development but allows for more and that their work provides and long term and sustainable benefit to the environment. The last part was a big objective of A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England and was carried from the Highways Agency to continue its work to improve and protect the environment.
These aims are monitored by the companies two regulatory bodies.
Highways England is tasked with implementing major road improvements on top of maintaining its current network. In the past, either when under direct control of the Department for Transport, or under the Highways Agency, projects and funding was set centrally and undertaken by various bodies. As the funding was set centrally and the projects were normally of high worth, it was easy to remove projects from the program and save some money if the Treasury need to reduce its spending.
Under its new structure, the funding is set by government but is allocated 5 years in advanced, meaning that Highways England has security of funding and can progress with schemes knowing that the funding will be there to build the scheme. This was all part of the Road Investment Strategy, which was designed to improve the sector by securing funding for the projects in advanced in 5 years periods, initially referred to as Road Periods. The first round of scheme was decided by the DfT and the Highways Agency, using their Route Based Strategies. Future funding will be allocated for the next period in advanced of when it is due to start and will allow Highways England to plan improvements for the next period in advanced of it starting. It will also be able to choose the schemes that it will progress using Route Based Strategies, much like the Highways Agency.
Highways England has two bodies tasked with monitoring its performance and ensuring that it meets its objectives in terms of maintaining and improving its network, as well as satisfying its users.
Office for Rail and Road
The Office for Rail and Road (ORR), formerly the Office for Rail Regulation, is the regulatory body that oversees and enforces Highways England's performance and efficiency, ensuring that it is meeting its key objectives and providing value for Tax Payers.
The Office for Rail Regulation became the Office for Rail and Road in April 2015 as part of the same legislation that the Highways Agency was converted into Highways England under the Infrastructure Act 2015.
Transport Focus, like the ORR and Highways England, came into existence under the Infrastructure Act (2015) and was formerly known as Passenger Focus, the rail passenger watchdog. Under its new remit, Transport Focus campaigns and influences the decisions of Highways England, as well as Network Rail, in improving the road and rail networks and making sure that users of both forms of transport receive a good level of service. It also makes sure that the users are receiving the level of service as set out by the ORR and works with the ORR to take action to rectify any issues while remaining independent from it.
Having taken over from the Highways Agency, Highways England continue to divide England into fourteen areas, each with its own team. Each area is tasked with maintaining the roads within it and identifying weaknesses in the network that need rectifying or improving.
This is the current list of Highways England Areas.
|HA Area||Area Name||Roads Include|
|1||Cornwall & Devon||A30, A38|
|2||Somerset, Avon, Wiltshire & Gloucestershire||M4, M5, M32, M48, M49, A4, A30, A36, A40, A46, A303|
|3||Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Dorset & Wiltshire||M3, M4, M27, M271, A3, A3(M), A27, A31, A34, A303, A308(M), A404, A404(M)|
|4||Kent, Surrey, East Sussex & West Sussex||M2, M20, M23, A2, A20, A21, A22, A23, A26, A27, A259, A2070|
|5||M25, link roads to GLA Boundary, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent & Surrey (M25 Area)||M1, M3, M4, M11, M20, M23, M25, M26, M40, A1, A1(M), A2, A3, A13, A20, A23, A30, A40, A316, A406, A1079, A3113|
|6||Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk & Norfolk||M11, A1, A11, A12, A14, A47, A120, A1023|
|7||Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, part of Warwickshire, Rutland & part of Oxfordshire||M1, M6, M45, M69, A1, A5, A6 A14, A38, A42, A43, A45, A46, A52, A453, A516, A5111|
|8||Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & part of Suffolk||M1, M11, A1, A1(M), A5, A11, A14, A414, A421, A428|
|9||West Midlands, Hereford, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire & Staffordshire||M5, M6, M40, M42, M50, M54, A5, A34, A38, A38(M), A40, A41, A45, A46, A49, A50 A423, A435, A446, A449, A452, A458, A483, A500, A4097, A5127, A5148,|
|10||Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester & part of Lancashire||M6, M53, M56, M57, M58, M60, M61, M62, M65, M66, M67, A41, A55, A56, A59, A483, A494, A550, A556, A580, A627(M), A663, A5036, A5103, A5117|
|No Area 11|
|12||Yorkshire & Humberside Ports Motorways||M1, M18, M62, M180, M181, M606, M621, A1, A1(M), A61, A63, A64, A160, A162, A180, A616, A628|
|13||Cumbria & parts of Lancashire||M6, M55, A7, A66, A585, A590, A595|
|14||Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham & North Yorkshire||A1, A1(M), A19, A66, A66(M), A184, A194(M), A696|
There are also additional area numbers for roads managed under a PFI contract. Area 5 is also managed under a PFI contract, but it existed as an area before the contract was signed and kept its area number as a result.
|DBFO Area||Area Name||Roads Include||Commencement Date|
|25||A69 Newcastle to Carlisle||A69||April 1996|
|26||A168/A19 Dishforth to Tyne Tunnel||A19, A168, A174, A1053||February 1997|
|27||M1-A1 Link (Lofthouse to Bramham)||M1, A1(M), M62||April 1996|
|28||A50/A564 Stoke tp Derby||A6, A50 (formerly A564)||July 1996|
|29||A1(M) Alconbury to Peterborough||A1(M), A14(M)||April 1996|
|30||M40 (J1-15) Denham to Warwick||M40||January 1996|
|31||A417/A419 Swindon to Gloucester||A417, A419||April 1996|
|32||A30/A35 Exeter to Bere Regis||A30, A35||October 1996|
|33||A1 Darrington to Dishforth||A1(M)||March 2003|
|34||A249 Stockbury (M2) to Sheerness||A249||February 2004|