Engineers urge transport strategy

Stephen Hammond

Investment and improvements to the transport network will "continue to be delayed, uncertain, expensive to deliver and inefficient" without a long-term strategy, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has said.

An urgent "shake-up" of the decision-making framework for transport was needed, said the ICE in a report.
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It added that "political disagreement on projects, patchy investment, inadequate maintenance and the absence of clear, strategic thinking" was undermining economic growth which transport can provide.

Among recommendations put forward by the ICE was the creation of an independent infrastructure commission operating at arm's length of government and a further extension of devolved powers on transport.
Steven Hayter, who chaired the panel producing the report , said despite some progress Government strategy and objectives on transport remained "unclear".

He continued: "The need for a coherent, long-term transport strategy - particularly for England - is becoming urgent. Without one, investments and improvements to the networks will continue to be delayed, uncertain, expensive to deliver and inefficient.

"We are confident government recognises this, but it is time to translate intent into action. It has an immediate opportunity to show it is serious about creating a more strategic framework for transport, by bringing forward the delayed Green Paper on future ownership and funding of our strategic roads network."

Transport minister Stephen Hammond (pictured) said: "A good transport network is essential in driving economic growth and prosperity both now and in the long term.

"That is why we are investing in roads, rail and public transport across the board from funding local transport improvements and tackling pinch-points on the road network to longer-term measures like taking forward a massive programme of rail investment and transforming the economic geography of the country with HS2."

He added: "We are also looking for new ways to run our national strategic roads network, drawing on the best experience from other sectors and countries. We hope to make an announcement on this work shortly. This report is a useful and informed contribution to the debate on how to get the best from our transport network."

© 2013 Press Association
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