Memoranda submitted by the Highways Agency and the Road Haulage Association
Examination of Witnesses (Questions 98-99)
MS HILARY CHIPPING, MR JIM BOUD, MR MIKE FREEMAN AND MR NICK CHARLESWORTH
WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2002
98. Good afternoon, madam and gentlemen, thank you for coming. Would you be kind enough to identify yourselves?
(Mr Boud) I am Jim Boud from the Highways Agency and I look after Network Strategy in the South East of England.
(Ms Chipping) I am Hilary Chipping, also from the Highways Agency and I am Director of Network Strategy.
(Mr Freeman) Mike Freeman, Road Haulage Association. I am Head of international operations.
(Mr Charlesworth) Nick Charlesworth, Laser Transport International and RHA Member.
99. Do you have anything you would like to say to begin with?
(Ms Chipping) May I very briefly draw out a couple of points from the written evidence we gave? As you know, the Highways Agency is responsible for the trunk road network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State and the prime purpose of the trunk road network is to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of long-distance through-traffic. When the ten-year Transport Plan was issued in July 2000, it was estimated that the trunk road network carried about 67 per cent of domestic freight. Clearly probably most of that is port traffic, so in terms of our policy towards our trunk road network we have indirectly a big impact on port traffic. The ten-year Plan set a number of quite demanding targets for the Highways Agency in terms of reducing congestion and you heard recently from Tim Matthews, the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency that we are on track for meeting those demanding targets. In terms of the relief of congestion, that will have a big impact on port traffic. Two general points. The framework within which we work in terms of planning transport infrastructure generally is clearly in the context of regional planning guidance. In particular the Regional Transport Strategy, which is part of the Regional Planning Guidance now, is where the regions are able to set their priorities, including access to ports, if they consider that to be a priority. The Highways Agency works closely with the Regional Planning Bodies in terms of developing their Regional Transport Strategies. That is one big input into general transport planning. In relation to particular port developments, the Highways Agency approach is set out in a circular which affects all developments which might have an impact on the trunk road network and we very much treat ports in the way that we would other developments in terms of being aware of their needs, talking to local authorities, port groups, at an early stage and trying to assist where we can with explaining the capacity of the trunk road network.
1 DTLR Circular 04/2001 Control of Development Affecting Trunk Roads and Arguments with Developers under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980. Back