Attempts to introduce a five-year funding package are in the balance, awaiting Treasury agreement, transport minister Jesse Norman has said.
Speaking at the ADEPT conference, the roads minister said the Department for Transport’s (DfT) plans for a more strategic long-term framework were ‘on the knees of the gods and also the chancellor of the exchequer’.
Speaking at the same conference, Graham Pendlebury, the DfT’s director of roads, said that while he could not predict the outcome of the process, the fact that Mr Norman had gone public with his bid for a five-year funding settlement demonstrates what a top priority the issue is for ministers in the DfT.
The minister added: ‘I don't believe for one second that creating roads is just about requiring investment. It certainly is about that. I hope that you've noticed not just the more strategic approach we've taken towards our strategic road network but the more strategic approach we are taking further down in the work we're doing to try to build an understanding of a potential new major road network, the work we’re doing on large local majors.
'And in due course I'd love to think, although these things are on the knees of the gods as they said in ancient Greece and also the chancellor of the exchequer, a more strategic long-term framework for funding local roads.’
Mr Norman stressed the Government was delivering ‘the largest investment programme for a generation, just under £29bn to be spent on the most strategically important roads in this country over five years from 2020’.
‘And that is money that will enable this country to meet the social and economic challenges of the future and also of course address crucial issues of road safety on which of course, as you know, the statistics have plateaued over the last few years,' he said.