Highways England boss calls for roads sector deal
Highways England executive director for strategy planning Elliot Shaw has said talks are underway for a potential roads sector deal.
Speaking at New Civil Engineer’s Future of Roads conference, Shaw said Highways England had been in talks with The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (Adept) about the possibility of a sector deal for roads.
“A sector deal would a positive thing, we have already been talking to Adept about this and about taking this forward I think it could be beneficial for RIS2 and beyond,” Shaw said.
A sector deal would represent a partnership between government and private industry and could help foster innovation and growth in the sector through providing a better pipeline of work.
The government has so far signed 10 sector deals, with the most recent being a £250M deal for the offshore wind industry. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has also signed off construction and nuclear sector deals.
Shaw went on to say that a sector deal would help Highways England to work closely with its private partners. “I think we want to work more collaboratively with the industry and a sector deal would enable that,” he said.
WSP head of profession, local government and outgoing Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) president Matthew Lugg, also speaking at the conference, said a deal could help coordinate research and development across the sector.
“Having a sector deal for highways would be a really good vehicle to provide a better relationship with government to tackle various issues,” Lugg said. “Our sector lacks coordinated research and development and I think this is something that could be supported through a sector deal.”
“This is something I think we should lobby for as a sector, but it does need momentum and needs industry leaders to convince government.”