Road Network Analysis: Major roads, major concerns? With the consultation on the Department for Transport's major road plans having closed in late March and ministers now considering their next moves, Dominic Browne reports on reactions from leading professional bodies. TAG president issues clarion call for innovation The new president of the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (LGTAG) began his premiership with a call for radical resilience, tapping into a restlessness in the highways sector and a desire to end the ‘we have always done it this way culture’. 'Action needed now' on better links to ports Campaigners and contractors have called for ministers to take action after an official report found that infrastructure investment and planning decisions need to take better account of road and rail connections to ports. 'An unwelcome return': weather to blight Easter travel The return of bad weather this Easter weekend will add to congestion on the roads at a time when 19 million separate leisure journeys will be made by car, the RAC has warned. DfT to roll out lane rental after trials show 'huge benefits' The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to allow the roll-out of lane rental schemes across the country, giving local authorities the option to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times. Local A roads feel the strain as traffic rises 2.2% An annual record 324 billion vehicle miles (bvm) were travelled on Great Britain’s roads in 2016, up 2.2% on the previous year, while people walked on average the distance from London to the Yorkshire Dales. Expert casts doubt on Grayling's 2021 vision for driverless cars A leading expert in autonomous vehicles has described Chris Grayling’s target of seeing self-driving cars on British roads by 2021 as ‘very, very optimistic’ and suggested that it might take at least another decade. Heathrow runway air quality sits on a wing and a prayer Chris Ames looks at the new projections on what a new runway at Heathrow - and the other options - might do to illegal levels of air pollution. Councils 'risk letting the side down' on digital highway innovation Local authorities need to take a proactive approach to avoid falling behind as potentially game-changing digital innovation is applied on the strategic road network (SRN) and in large smart cities, council directors have warned. Watchdog backs services to cut stress as Reading tops poll Reading westbound services on the M4 has been named England’s top motorway services in a new user survey, which found that visiting services significantly improves the mood of drivers. 'Iconic' £600m Mersey Bridge puts Halton on the map The new £600m Mersey Gateway Bridge opened at the weekend, ‘on time and under budget’. Govt asks Highways England to do more to get traffic moving A minister has asked Highways England to improve the speed at which it re-opens sections of the strategic road network after incidents as new data suggests traffic jams on motorways and A roads costs the economy £9bn a year. Scotland's car traffic up as bus numbers fall Congestion in Scotland fell slightly last year, despite a 2% increase in car traffic, while the number of bus passengers fell by nearly 4%. 'Dismay' over 4% rise in road deaths The number of people killed on Britain’s roads rose by 4% last year to the highest level since 2011. Charity wants motorways made safe for occasional users The RAC Foundation has called for motorways to be made ‘welcoming and safe’ for drivers who rarely use them after Department for Transport (DfT) data showed that many people cannot access the network easily. DfT consults on lane rental roll-out and 'super permits' Councils and motoring groups have welcomed government proposals to introduce by-the-hour lane rental for road works but warned that the quality of repairs must not suffer if utility firms are incentivised to complete works more quickly. Bike light that monitors road conditions on trial Nearly 200 Manchester cyclists are carrying out the first large-scale British trial of a combined bike light and road condition monitoring unit. National Travel Survey: A nation travelling less The latest statistics on travel trends in England show a continuing fall in the total number of journeys people are making, including a slight drop in trips – and distance travelled - by car. £282m scheme at M42 J6 to ease congestion at UK Central Highways England has announced an amended route for its £282m scheme to take the pressure off the M42 junction 6 near Solihull. Highways England misses customer satisfaction target Highways England narrowly missed its key target for customer satisfaction after drivers complained about the way roadworks are managed, a national watchdog has revealed. TfN's major road network is 'very big funding ask' The size of the planned major road network (MRN) for the North poses a funding challenge for both the body that has proposed it and the Government, a key figure behind the MRN concept has told Transport Network. Mosque attack involving van leaves one dead and ten injured Roads and public transport have again been affected after another incident in which a van was driven into pedestrians on the pavement in London, causing casualties. Khan's 'bold' and 'ambitious' transport plans win plaudits Council directors, campaigners and motoring groups have praised London mayor Sadiq Khan’s draft transport strategy, which includes a single per mile charging system for the capital’s road users. RAC Foundation's Day One briefing to new government The RAC Foundation has called for the winners of Thursday’s election to make the ring-fencing of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) a binding statutory scheme, as part of plans to support 'safe and sustainable' motoring. Gove given air pollution hot potato as Grayling keeps transport Chris Grayling has kept his job as transport secretary after Theresa May carried out a minor post-election reshuffle, but Michael Gove has returned to the Cabinet as environment secretary. New radar sensors are 'milestone' towards autonomous cars TomTom and Bosch have created an HD map with integrated ‘Radar Road Signature’ that could allow automated vehicles to determine their exact location down to a few centimetres. Rail freight even better at cutting lorry miles, campaigners say Rail freight can make a much greater impact on reducing road congestion than previously thought, campaigners have said. Relentless growth in van use takes traffic levels to new high Traffic on Great Britain’s roads reached another record high in the year ending in March, with vans again leading the increase, according to new statistics from the Department for Transport. Highways England faces 'big challenge' over updating national standards Highways England’s licence requires it to update the national standards and requirements for the UK motorway and all-purpose trunk road network. Arash Khojinian – team leader for pavements, safety, engineering and standards at Highways England – reveals what reforms are on the cards. How do we future-proof our road networks? A research project led by council directors in collaboration with EY, O2 and Ringway looks at using digital innovation to create a road system for the future. Controversy over £4.4bn Thames crossing reignited by route decision Confirmation of Government backing and a preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing – expected to cost £4.4bn – has stirred new controversy, with local Conservative MPs voicing their opposition to the longstanding project. HE 'going in the right direction', O’Sullivan says Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan gave Transport Network an interview at Traffex this week and said he was very impressed with the event and confident about his company’s capital funding position. HE clears roadworks with Easter weekend to put millions more on roads Highways England is lifting more than 300 miles of roadworks for the Easter getaway, with as many as 20 million cars expected to hit the roads. New litter strategy aims to tackle £800m clean up bill Ministers have unveiled the Government’s first Litter Strategy for England, which includes plans to fine drivers for litter thrown from their vehicle by passengers. Costain Galliford Try to start work on new M1 smart motorway scheme Highways England has confirmed the award of a £96m contract to the Costain Galliford Try joint venture to upgrade a section of the M1 to a Smart Motorway. NAO calls for urgent action to agree 'realistic' RIS delivery plan The Government and Highways England urgently need to agree a more realistic delivery plan for the Road Investment Strategy (RIS), the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned. DfT report comes out against widening of M25 South West Quadrant An official Government report has come out against widening the South West Quadrant of the M25, backing measures such as developing alternatives to travel and moving traffic to ‘more sustainable modes’. Q & A: Lord Selborne: Driverless cars could be a nightmare Lord Selborne, chairman of the Lords Science and Technology Committee, talks to Transport Network about the issues that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles raise for central and local government. Most congested cities revealed Guess where the UK came in the top ten most congested developed countries in the world - it's quite high... Scots Govt to spend £167m more on trunk roads - and bridges The Scottish Government has announced an extra £167m for the country’s trunk road network next year and promised ‘a vastly improved motorway network fit for the 21st century’. UK congestion worst in Europe and set to cost £62bn The United Kingdom is the worst country in Europe for traffic jams, and London the most congested city in the continent, according to major new research. £175m to tackle 50 killer roads, under £1.3bn plans The transport secretary has announced further details of £1.3bn of additional funding for roads, including a £925m pot highways authorities can bid for. Call for 'real choice' as traffic levels hit new high Traffic levels in Britain rose by 1.4% in the last year to a new record high, led by rises of over 3% in mileage by vans and lorries. How public sector collaboration is shaping the A14 upgrade Cambridgeshire County Council is a central partner to Highways England on its £1.5bn A14 scheme, due to start main construction in November. Transport Network spoke to senior figures at both organisations to find out more about how they are working together to shape this long-awaited scheme. TfGM appoints KRN manager as GTR replaces Crowther Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has appointed Kevin Hargreaves to be ‘the UK’s first Key Route Network (KRN) Manager’, responsible for the development and performance of the region’s 600km network of major roads. Focus on the city regions, city regions say Transport bosses from the country’s biggest city regions have set out a route map for what an effective relationship with Government should look like, including prompt enactment of the Bus Services Bill, more stable funding and tougher action on toxic air. Cardiff yellow box cameras help bus journey times Camera enforcement at yellow box junctions in central Cardiff appears to have caused a major reduction in obstructions, and bus services are beginning to benefit, Transport Network can reveal. 'Hamstrung' councils back lane rental roll-out Council leaders have called on ministers to make it easier to introduce lane rental schemes, warning that some areas of the country face ‘rush hour gridlock’ from utility company road works. Devon publishes controversial A30 plans Devon County Council has published three route options for a controversial new section of the A30/A303, as it aims to secure funding through the Government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS). Top 5: Procrastination in transport With the RMT union striking because Southern Railway won’t delay changes to the role of guards and ministers delaying a decision on the Hinkley C nuclear plant, here are our Top 5 procrastinations in transport and infrastructure. As Saint Augustine might have said, give me new transport schemes, but not yet. Final piece of jigsaw for £1.3bn Lincolnshire Lakes scheme North Lincolnshire Council has given the go-ahead for the final phase of the £1.3bn Lincolnshire Lakes development, which will see the detrunking of a section of motorway and other transport and infrastructure improvements. Highways England launches £400k 'legacy' grants for A14 scheme Highways England is inviting people living along the A14 in Cambridgeshire to apply for grants of up to £10,000 to help ‘lock in the benefits’ of a major upgrade of the road. Highways England: The story so far In advance of our groundbreaking conference in Manchester on 23-24 September, bringing together the national and local sides of the highways network for the first time, Transport Network takes a look at some of the major schemes and collaborative working happening around the country. DfT plans 'roadmap to fully automated vehicles' Ministers have launched a consultation on plans to pave the way for automated cars to be used on British roads. Highways resilience in a changing climate The Government is funding repairs rather than prevention when dealing with wet weather events. Rhodri Clark reports on why proactive planning for the future is essential. Highways England plans £75m triple-deck junction Highways England has unveiled a £75m scheme to create the North East's first 'triple-deck' road junction at the congested Silverlink roundabout in North Tyneside. Welsh council fines Network Rail over bridge delays Councils have been urged to take a balanced approach when Network Rail construction works affect their highways, after one authority fined the infrastructure owner for over-runs on bridge reconstruction schemes. TfGM proposes to use mayor's 'devolution toolkit' to boost transport Bus franchising, better orbital links and ‘the next generation of rapid transport links’, including tram-train, are some of the highlights of Greater Manchester's 25-year transport plan. Prof Stephen Glaister reappointed as ORR chair Professor Stephen Glaister CBE has been reappointed as the chair of the Office of Rail and Road - the UK’s independent rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England (ORR) - until December 2017. Sinkhole causes lengthy closure of A1 carriageway Highways England has closed a northbound section of the A1 near Newcastle and Gateshead after a hole appeared in the carriageway on Saturday (25 June). Cold Comfort: Lessons from a troubled year Flooding returned to the UK this week, following a year that saw local government deal with record flood levels as well as the usual challenges of winter service. Cold Comfort 2016 in Manchester saw officers swapping stories from the storms. UKIP u-turn brings M4 black route closer UKIP has dropped its opposition to the ‘black route’ M4 relief road in South Wales, boosting the controversial scheme’s chances of going ahead. West Midlands transport body seeks biggest bang for (£4bn) buck Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said it will drive forward more than £4bn of transport infrastructure over the coming decade, including more tram extensions, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and better motorways. Mother demands action over child's asthma death and pollution A mother is seeking an investigation to find out whether poor air quality in London contributed to daughter’s death from an asthma attack. MPs challenge 'hasty' lorry park alternative to Operation Stack The case for building a vast lorry park costing £250m as an alternative to parking lorries on the M20 in Kent through Operation Stack, has not yet been made, according to MPs. LGA in talks over Major Road Network plans Funding for a proposed ‘Major Road Network’ (MRN) from the future National Road Fund (NRF) should not simply replace existing money given to councils, the architects of the MRN have warned. Scrutiny framework confirmed for new Highways Agency The Government today confirmed plans for how a more independent Highways Agency would be held to account following the passing of the Infrastructure Bill. England's traffic volumes pass pre-recession peak Traffic volumes in England have reached an all-time high, having finally exceeded their pre-recession peak, with local road users continuing to experience the worst delays. New highways research project open to tender The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has invited tenders for a research project designed to analyse road project impacts in England. Criticism as cars, vans and lorries dominate transport statistics Road use statistics show a countrywide overdependence on cars that risks marginalising people who don’t drive, campaigners have said. New smart motorway stretch opens on M1 Highways England has opened a new 20 mile section of smart motorway in the East Midlands, completing a £205m upgrade. Easter weekend travel guide The country’s roads are expected to be busier over the Easter weekend than last year, while Network Rail will deliver around 20% more maintenance and improvement projects. London goes from bad to worst on traffic jams London topped the global congestion ranking last year, while nearly two thirds of UK cities suffered traffic delays, a new report has revealed. MPs bemused by failure to devolve moving traffic powers An influential group of MPs has backed one of the core transport asks of English local government - granting local authorities the power to enforce against moving traffic offences. 'Intelligent Mobility' the theme for TSC Imagine Festival The Transport Systems Catapult will hold its third annual ‘Imagine’ Festival in June Exclusive: London mayor candidates clash on Johnson's tunnel plans Outgoing mayor Boris Johnson’s proposals for new road tunnels in the capital have become an issue in May’s election after Labour and Conservative candidates for London mayor took opposing positions. DfT launches M25 strategic route study The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a sixth strategic study of the road network, looking at the performance of transport systems between junctions 10 and 16 of the M25. Councils call for more powers over lorries Council leaders have called for powers to fine lorry drivers who ignore weight restrictions in rural areas, with any surplus put towards fixing potholes. South Devon boosted by £110m bypass Transport minister Andrew Jones has opened a new £110m bypass in Devon. Pollution levels could be 20% higher inside the car Pollution levels inside cars could be around 20% higher than on the road outside a pilot study has found, raising fears among experts for the safety of professional drivers. DfT appoints new director of roads with devolution brief The Department for Transport (DfT) has appointed Tricia Hayes to the new role of director general of roads, devolution and motoring. London joins Euro smart cities drive Electric bike sharing, using electric vehicles (EVs) for car sharing and local deliveries, and installing smart parking bays are among schemes to be trialled in London under the EU's €25 million six-city Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse programme. MPs turn the screw on VW over emissions MPs are putting pressure on Volkswagen (VW) after the company said it would compensate US customers but not European ones affected by the engine testing scandal. George Lee Q and A: 'There are large opportunities but there are also threats.' Transport Network caught up with George Lee, head of the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA), to chat about dangers and opportunities, standards and skills, and the threat of driverless cars. Highways England looks 'beyond its own boundaries' in operational strategy Highways England has outlined a four-pillar network operation strategy that it vowed would look beyond ‘its own boundaries’ and integrate with local networks for the first time. Government threatened with more legal action over pollution The Government is under threat of further court action over pollution levels after it emerged London breached its total annual emissions limit in the first week of 2016. Public lacking drive for in-car tech Major new research suggests an ambivalence towards in-car technology and a lack of commercial incentive for manufacturers, with many in the public raising safety fears and citing a lack of improvement to the driving experience. Highways England set for more local collaboration on data Highways England has announced plans to work more closely with local authorities and third parties to help integrate and develop its traffic information strategy. The Big Interview: Clearing the road Jon Masters talks to former transport minister, Stephen Ladyman, about the challenges in the new traffic technology sector. Would road user charging work in practice? An expert from infrastructure giant AECOM takes us through the issues highlighted by its recent survey of business with the CBI, including the potential for road user charging in the UK. 'My car, my data' demands AA The AA is backing a Europe-wide campaign aimed at ensuring that motorists' privacy will not be compromised by the data-sharing implications of connected vehicle technology. HS2's East Midlands hub to cut back on road access Car access to the proposed East Midlands HS2 station should be via one road only, a study of design principles has recommended. Highways England in good health but safety target 'at risk' Highways England is already exceeding some of its toughest targets, although the key measure of improving safety is 'at risk', according to the industry watchdog. More changes to traffic signs ahead More changes to the national regulations governing street signs are planned for next year, with local authorities set to gain greater freedom over parking bays. Major roads study set to break local national divide A new study into the future of English highways could break down the barriers between the national and local networks, with its authors suggesting the new concept of a ‘major road network’ (MRN) is already gaining traction. West Midlands leaders agree £1bn devolution deal Leaders in the West Midlands have signed a provisional £1bn devolution deal with government that brings a directly elected mayor to the region from 2017, responsible for a raft of new transport powers. 'Gravimeter' could save billions on roadworks, scientists say British scientists are hoping to develop a portable ‘gravimeter’, which would allow councils to test for utilities under streets before major works begin. Grey is so last year... Speed cameras set for yellow makeover All speed cameras will be coloured yellow from October 2016 onwards to increase visibility, following a government policy review earlier this year. Calls for highways standards to match resources Highways maintenance specifications should be changed in response to growing shortages of materials and cash, public sector and industry figures have suggested. Highways England hits back at claims of 'shadow privatisation' Highways England has hit back at suggestions the management of the motorway network is about to be handed to private firms, labelling the reports ‘completely untrue’. Road Expo Scotland hits record figures Road Expo Scotland this week is set for a record year with registrations topping the 1,500 mark for the first time ever. New motorway 'fuel signs' trialled Highways England has launched a trial of new motorway signs that will show the price of fuel along a section of the M5 between Bristol and Exeter. Oxford to Cambridge Expressway explored in new study Highways England has appointed a joint venture to lead a £500,000 study into the potential for a dedicated road link between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. UK's first 'smart pavement' goes live The UK’s first ‘smart pavement’ has been switched on today in Chesham high street, Buckinghamshire, providing a free wireless broadband connection to some 21,000 local residents. Driverless cars: Govt creates £11m research fund, as manufacturers change gear Business secretary Sajid Javid has committed £11m towards an autonomous vehicle research programme, as part of plans to keep the UK 'at the forefront of the robotics revolution'. McLoughlin pushes Europe for 'real world' emissions tests Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has continued to push for ‘real-world’ driving emissions tests in the wake of the VW scandal in a meeting with European transport ministers. Cardiff to start issuing fines for yellow box offences The City of Cardiff Council is ready to issue Penalty Charge Notices to drivers who stop illegally on yellow box junctions, making it the first council outside London to do so. Move to regional highways management 'inevitable' Further cross-boundary collaborative working between Highways England and local highway authorities is inevitable and essential, senior figures from the sector have said. Highways authorities must seize the moment, TfGM boss warns Transformation is taking place in the highways sector and authorities must adapt to reap the rewards, Peter Molyneux, head of highways at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has warned. Major studies launched into highways tech and the A1 Two major highways studies have been launched by the Department for Transport (DfT), looking at local use of traffic management technology and potential improvements on the A1. Scotland's largest ever transport project breaks ground Work has started on the first leg of the largest transport project in Scotland’s history – the £3bn A9 Perth to Inverness dualling programme. Derby combined authority eyes 'golden opportunity' with Highways England The proposed Derby and Derbyshire Combined Authority would seek a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Highways England but will not push for bus franchising powers, Transport Network understands. Comment: What's the only thing worse than noisy roadworks? Councils' silence Oxfordshire CC's Mark Kemp on the importance of communication when roadworks are round the corner. London tops Europe's most congested cities London has become the most congested city in Europe with drivers losing 96 hours a year to gridlock, the equivalent of 12 working days. Highways England confirms ‘electric highways’ charging trials this year Under-road electric vehicle charging systems are set to be tested for the first time in the UK later this year. Groundbreaking highways event granted CPD accreditation Surveyor magazine’s groundbreaking event this September Highways Management: Smarter roads for the future has been approved for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation. Q and A: 'When I say stick to the plan, I mean it.' Passenger Focus recently became Transport Focus after being handed responsibility for representing users of the Strategic Road Network in England from 1 April this year. Transport Network spoke to chief executive Anthony Smith about making the transition to highways, his biggest fears, gamification and the importance of sticking to a plan. Mott MacDonald wins £2.5m Highways England software contract Mott MacDonald has secured a £2.5m technology software systems (TSS) contract from Highways England. Highways England gives a nod to nudge with new safety campaign Nine major road improvement sites have been given new look signs and road markings as Highways England trials different ways of making its roadworks clearer and safer. DfT in international negotiations on driverless cars The Government has revealed the wide-ranging action it is taking to support driverless cars, including international negotiations on regulations, behavioural tests on road users and new guidelines on legal responsibilities. Manchester and Highways England strategy board holds first meeting Local leaders and bosses from Manchester and Highways England have held the first meeting of a local strategy board to help define shared priorities for the region's key road network. Making better use of data David Metz talks to Jon Masters about the need for a national policy on how to accommodate population and traffic growth and the battle against congestion. £1.5bn of smart motorway projects awarded Highways England has appointed six joint-venture companies to design and build around £1.5bn worth of smart motorway projects. Highways England to create 'best of the best' sector-wide teams Highways England is building up teams of ‘the best of the best’ in the sector, using staff from different private contractors and designers as well as in-house personnel to deliver major schemes, Transport Network can reveal. Rotterdam set to trial plastic road The city council of Rotterdam has revealed it is considering piloting a new type of road surface made entirely from recycled plastic. London Assembly calls for tougher action on illegal pollution levels London Assembly members have called on Boris Johnson to work with government and local boroughs to see how the whole of the capital could tackle current illegal pollution levels by 2020. Linking road funding to safety benefits represents ‘win-win’ for transport New funding sources could be unlocked for transport if investment was linked to the impacts of improved road safety, a report claims. Councils issue bus lane fines worth £30m last year Councils stung motorists with at least £30m in fines last year for bus lane infringements alone, according to new figures. The Big Interview: Engineered to last After 30 years experience in highways, Trevor Collett talks to Dominic Browne about his hopes and concerns for the sector and being next in line to be president of the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG). Highways England unveils £1.5bn smart motorway plan for north west The north west is set to benefit from nearly 80 miles of extra smart motorway over the next five years as part of a £1.5bn Highways England investment plan. The faster side of the street? Motorists have been left baffled after a pair of contradictory speed limit signs were put up just metres apart on the same street. Highways England appoints new chief executive Highways England has appointed an airports expert and former Heathrow boss as its new chief executive, following the departure of the popular Graham Dalton. Smarter than the average car Jaguar Land Rover has revealed it has produced an off-road vehicle that can be remote controlled using a smartphone. Highways England creates panel of experts for better road design Highways England has set up a panel of experts to develop 'excellence in road design', as it sets about delivering £11bn worth of investment over the next five years. Variable Message Sign repair service launched A new repair service to extend the life of Variable Message Signs (VMS) has been launched by Swarco, with one local authority already working with the company on up to 40 signs. London set for £100m electric car transformation French firm Bolloré has announced a £100m investment plan to massively expand the capital’s electric car network along the lines of the Boris Bike scheme. Pothole sensor opens up real-time detection for councils An innovative research project could soon see cars sharing real-time data on potholes with other drivers and councils, potentially slashing local authority costs. A14 awards announced but Highways England urges contractor rethink The first contract awards on the £1.5bn A14 improvement in East Anglia have been announced, however the process has led Highways England to signal principal contractors must rethink their approach to win work on major projects. Tories raise fears over Osborne 'fuel duty fudge' Senior Conservatives have briefed the media over fears of a George Osborne ‘fudge’ on his promise to freeze fuel duty. Devolution won't work without the skills Without the engineering workforce, financial investment in regional powerhouses is meaningless - so where does the solution lie? Exclusive: Highways England project procurement 'in disarray' The procurement process at Highways England is in disarray and major trade bodies should stand up for the industry and help tackle the problem according to tier one suppliers. Watchdog reveals Highways England monitoring plans The Office of Rail and Road – a new watchdog formed out of the Office of Rail Regulation today – has launched a consultation on its plans for monitoring the performance of Highways England. Correlation found between busy roads and obesity New research has suggested living next to a busy road can lead to less active lifestyles and increase the risk of obesity. How smart motorways can reduce congestion As Highways England embarks on an £11bn road revolution, Graham Bradley, UK country manager at INRIX, discusses how smart motorways can significantly reduce congestion. The Monday Cartoon Our cartoonist Rhiannon Rees puts Cameron in the driving seat after the election. Highways England could face probe over roadworks delays Highways England could face an early investigation from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) after major overruns on engineering work in Chester. Transport analytics platform first to use connected car data A new analytics platform is the first to exploit big data from Internet connected cars and devices and could have a major impact on local and national planning, developer INRIX has said. 'Local is where the action is' says Highways England chief Chief executive of Highways England, Graham Dalton, told Traffex delegates that local authorities would play a key role in medium and long-term planning on the strategic roads network. Capita to design connection for Cardiff's 'roundabout to nowhere' Capita has been awarded a contract to make Cardiff’s ‘roundabout to nowhere’ actually go somewhere by connecting the A4232 with the A48. DfT signage reforms 'could leave councils at the mercy of the courts' Councils could be left at the mercy of the courts if they seek to take of advantage of the Government's plans to radically reform traffic signage, an industry insider has warned. Traffex 2015: CIHT launches new guidance and membership offer Newly released urban design guidance will be promoted by leading professional body the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) at Traffex 2015, along with a new membership offer for apprentices. Traffex 2015: Highways England to make industry splash Highways England will be at Traffex 2015 to speak directly to the UK traffic and transport industry for the first time since its launch on 1 April. Traffex 2015 set to celebrate record year Europe’s largest traffic management and parking exhibition, Traffex, is set for a record year in Birmingham next week with more companies than ever taking part. Swansea agrees to change road layout after coroner's criticism Swansea CC has agreed to modify one of its roads after a spate of incidents including two fatalities prompted criticism from a coroner. Motorists scared or unaware of smart motorways, warns charity Motorists are still confused about smart motorways 12 months after their introduction to England, road safety experts fear. Potholes rated 'a bigger priority than road safety' Potholes and general road maintenance are bigger issues for the majority of motorists than safety concerns, a new survey has suggested. Exclusive: Highways England to formalise new understandings with councils Highways England plans to develop a ‘multi-layered’ relationship with local authorities centred on individual strategic memorandums of understanding (MOU) with key councils or groups of councils, Transport Network can reveal. The Big Interview: The personal touch Bill Taylor, managing director at Ringway, is clear on where progress must be made in the transport sector. Easter rail disruption countered by loss of 550 roadwork miles Disruption to transport networks over the Easter weekend could be eased by the removal of hundreds of miles of roadworks across England. Highways England: 'Trucks not stones will be key capacity issue' Senior figures in Highways England have claimed the new company’s multi-billion pound investment programme will put pressure on the nation’s lorry capacity rather than its aggregate industry. Highways England has 'no plans' to sell its wares Chief executive of Highways England, Graham Dalton, has said the new strategic highways company has ‘no plans’ to operate a commercial enterprise selling expertise or knowledge. Belfast named most congested UK city as traffic jams increase Congestion in 14 out of the Britain’s 17 biggest cities has increased over the last year, with the average commuter wasting 129 hours a year in jams according to a major annual traffic index. Highways England details £11bn capital spending plan Highways England has revealed how it will spend £11bn over the next five years once it takes responsibility for the country’s motorways and major A-roads network from 1 April. Reading opens travel and transport data to public Reading Borough Council has opened up all its travel and transport data to help guide local drivers and public transport users. Government commits £350k to testing case for new northern bypass A £350,000 Government investment will fund assessment of a potential new bypass for the north of England, ministers have confirmed today. Highways England handed official licence but tough targets Highways England has been formally appointed to be the strategic highways company from 1 April 2015, with responsibility for managing the motorway and trunk road network. Birmingham and Amey locked in claim and counterclaim An ongoing dispute between the UK’s largest local authority and its highways contractor over a £2.7bn roads deal has taken a turn for the worse, amid claims and counterclaims over the state of the network. Council penalties for diesel cars ‘make no sense’ Councils have been warned against ‘demonising’ diesel cars and penalising drivers, under efforts by vehicle manufacturers to ‘set the record straight’. UK urged to prepare for driverless cars MPs have demanded a new motoring strategy be launched to match the growing momentum behind driverless vehicles and automotive technology. All road vehicles could be autonomous within 10 years, expert says Fewer traffic lights and parking spaces, less congestion and more shared space schemes could be among the local impacts of driverless cars according to one senior member of a British consortium trialling the new technology. Government rejects calls for action on school air quality The Coalition Government has rejected calls for a diesel vehicle tax to combat pollution but will consider implementing a national network of low emission zones, it has emerged. DfT invests £3m in 'most detailed highways data ever produced' A digital road map of England and Wales that could 'transform highways maintenance' has been awarded £3m of government funds. Shropshire villages plan HGV restrictions Local councils in Shropshire have called for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to be diverted from three town and village centres in their area due to concerns over congestion and damage to property and pavements. Labour would 'bin rail franchise system' and tackle 'cash cow' speed cameras Labour has redrawn its battle lines over the nationalisation of the railways, with shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher taking a more bullish stance than ever. Highways England ready for launch as Infrastructure Act becomes law The way England's strategic road network is managed will change from April this year after the Infrastructure Act became law last week, paving the way for the Highways Agency to become Highways England. Driverless car trials begin in UK Prototype driverless cars that will be tested in four English cities were unveiled today, with ministers suggesting the £19m government seed funding for the schemes could help develop a £900bn industry by 2025. Scotland set for average speed camera roll out after A9 success Scotland’s transport minister Derek Mackay has suggested a roll out of average speed cameras across the devolved nation could be on the cards following the success of a scheme on the A9. 'A10 bypass' cycle superhighway unveiled The mayor and Transport for London have unveiled plans to build an 11km backstreet Cycle Superhighway between White Hart Lane in Tottenham, Stoke Newington, Dalston and the City of London - acting as an A10 bypass. Major permit scheme changes planned for the Autumn The Department for Transport has announced plans to make major changes to permit scheme regulations – one the key local authority tools for managing street works to reduce local congestion - by 1 October 2015. Cardiff opens bus lanes to more vehicles in six-month trial A Welsh local authority is poised to open bus lanes to motorbikes and private hire vehicles under a six-month trial that could slash congestion. Friday Thought: The truth of beauty This week saw transport minister John Hayes make a speech, which like the Robert Frost poem it references, speaks of ‘a road less travelled’ and how that could make all the difference. South of England permit scheme expanded A south of England highways permit scheme designed to coordinate local roadworks to minimise disruption has been joined by two more local authorities - creating a six-council framework with a 130-mile span. Google and Bosch outline four-step driverless car plan Google and top automotive supplier Bosch plan to have driverless cars on the roads within five years it has emerged. Brighton launches low emissions zone Brighton and Hove City Council launched its first low emissions zone (LEZ) this week, after partnership working with local bus companies. Council to launch £96 resident parking charge for diesel vehicles A north London borough will soon charge residents with diesel vehicles for parking permits in a bid to improve local air quality. New 'live highway' area comes to UK's leading traffic event The UK’s leading traffic and parking exhibition this year features a new section simulating a live public highway to help delegates explore the latest technology and design developments, Transport Network can reveal. Comment: The odd language of signs What better way to have a laugh this festive season than look at some of the traffic industries most obvious calamities. Signs! Diesel cars in line of fire as MPs call for radical action on pollution Influential MPs have called for radical action to tackle air pollution including higher taxes for diesel cars and a possible devolution of powers to councils to help tackle the health impact - equivalent to 29,000 deaths a year. £19m for driverless car trials in four cities Three driverless car test projects will receive £19m of funding to test infrastructure, public reactions and legal protocols in four English cities - the Government has announced. Cities in push for freight delivery 'reschedule' plan Cities are being urged to help re-schedule freight deliveries and improve road safety and congestion, under new guidance published today. Gritting salt stockpiles rise in 18% of councils, poll reveals Almost a fifth of councils are raising gritting salt stockpiles this winter, with 49% of town halls preparing to share supplies – a poll reveals. Speed limits to increase for lorries The Government has revealed it will amend legislation to increase the speed limit for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) from 50mph to 60mph for lorries over 7.5 tonnes on dual carriageway roads. Squaring the circle A measured approach is needed when discussing the future of the UK's infrastructure needs according to Adept's annual policy prospectus. Dominic Browne reports. Autumn Statement: Business calls for tunnelled roads The UK’s top business lobbies have stressed the need for greater roads investment in the run up to the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, backing schemes for tunnelled highways under Stonehenge and the Pennines. Comment: Trouble ahead in the Autumn Statement Stephen Joseph OBE of Campaign for Better Transport looks ahead to the Autumn Statement and sees trouble up the road. Timetable set out for Dartford Tunnel changes On 10pm on Saturday 29 November cash payments end on the Dartford Tunnel bringing to a close the payment system that has operated since 1963. Councils given more freedom under traffic sign reforms Local authorities will be given much more flexibility over traffic signage next year after Government plans for an overhaul of key legislation were given a positive response from the sector. 'Simple low cost' road improvements lead to '80% fall in KSIs' A new report has highlighted a major connection between simple highways infrastructure improvements and safety, finding an 80% reduction in the number of people killed or serious injured (KSIs) on 15 stretches of road after a series of low-cost interventions. Manchester sees rapid rise in electric vehicle use Greater Manchester has seen the use of municipal electric vehicle charging points rapidly increase over the first year of operations, with a twelvefold jump since September 2013. Road user charging 'could be race between Treasury and London' Road user charging could be back on the political agenda in London after the mayoral election in 2016 with the Greater London Authority in a potential race with the Treasury to introduce it first, the capital’s head of transport has said. Gritting firm vows to appeal court’s decision on salt procurement Transport Scotland has won a £3.2m legal battle with a road salt business, Nationwide Gritting Services (NGS), which claimed procurement law had been breached during two historically cold winters. London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone plans put to the public Londoners consulted on plans to launch the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the capital by 2020. Winning bids for driverless car trials to be announced in November Winning bids from four cities to run the UK's first on-road trials of driverless cars will be announced in November, Department for Transport vehicle standards minister Claire Perry MP said today. Labour puts the brakes on major road schemes Labour’s shadow transport secretary has attacked the Government’s road building plans as politically motivated and refused to back key schemes such as the dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle. Road construction 'to increase 40% by 2018' Road construction could increase over 40% by 2018 following a major spending boost for the Highways Agency, according to construction industry representatives. Pollution tests 'flawed' as average car seven times over the legal limit The average car produces seven times more toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are linked to heart and breathing conditions, than the legal limit set down in the latest European emissions standard. Freight platoons could increase motorway capacity 'up to 20%' ‘Platoons’ – road trains of up to nine ‘electronically tethered’ vehicles, led by an HGV - could increase motorway capacity by between 15% and 20%, according to transport consultancy Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). 60mph speed limit set for new A-road in environmental push The transport minister is understood to have approved a 60mph limit on a new dual carriageway in a bid to reduce air pollution. Doubts raised over driverless car trials Growing doubts over the planned early 2015 start for the UK’s on-road trials of driverless vehicles emerged at the Road Transport Information and Control 2014 conference in London this week. Comment: Surrey CC - 'Hate roadworks? Love permit schemes' With the news that the South East Permit Scheme is expanding to cover three more councils, Surrey CC’s cabinet member for highways, John Furey, tells Transport Network what makes the scheme a success. Govt's road maintenance funding policy is 'ludicrous', MPs say The Department for Transport’s (DfT) approach to road maintenance funding is ‘ludicrous’, with decades of ‘unpredictable and fluctuating budgets’ putting value for money at risk, an influential group of MPs has claimed. Central London set for gridlock due to second taxi protest Taxi drivers could once again bring the centre of London to a standstill due to another slow driving demonstration beginning at 2pm this afternoon in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square. Disabled man refused new Blue Badge despite having only one arm A disabled man with one arm has been told he can only qualify for a parking permit if he loses ‘another arm or a leg’. Welsh Government delays Cardiff's moving traffic enforcement The Welsh Government has forced City of Cardiff Council to delay its planned introduction of enforcement of moving traffic regulations. Highways Agency welcomes ‘boost’ from £317m pinch point fund The Government’s £317m ‘pinch point’ road improvement programme has cut congestion at 39 bottlenecks since its launch in 2011, according to the Highways Agency. Comment: Our speed limits need to be lowered The decision by Manchester City Council to roll out 20mph speed limits on its non-major roads beggars the question – are our existing limits too high? The answer in my view is a definite ‘yes.’ Transport secretary applauds British Legion’s road sign factory Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has praised the Royal British Legion Industries’ (RBLI) new road and rail sign printing enterprise at a visit this week. Winners of £5m Clean Vehicle Technology Fund announced Seventeen local authorities have won grants from the latest round of the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund, with £5m handed out to make public service vehicles greener and cleaner. Sunderland approve £45m plans for new road link Sunderland City Council has approved plans to complete the continuous dual carriageway between the A19 and the city centre, however residents may have to wait years before work starts. Autumn Statement to unveil new highways schemes under '900 mile road revolution' Road schemes designed to tackle some of the UK’s ‘most notorious and long-standing hotspots’ are likely to be announced later this year, ministers have revealed. Transport experts release new standards on air pollution data Leading transport analysts have finalised new standards for the communication and use of air and noise pollution data in traffic solutions. TfL trials new bus technology to tackle emissions London is embarking on its first trial of new hybrid bus charging technology that enables specially designed buses to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at stands. Smart motorway scheme brings overnight M6 closures Sections of the M6 between junctions 10a and 13 will be closed at night for the next two weeks as part of the ongoing smart motorway upgrade near Birmingham. Scotland unveils pair of multi-million pound highway contracts Two multi-million pound highway dualling contracts have been put to market by the Scottish Government, with work on the A96 and A9 up for grabs. Worst speeding offences in Scotland revealed 139mph in a 60mph area - new figures reveal the worst recorded cases of speeding offences in Scotland. Lib Dems vow to scrap Severn tolls The Liberal Democrats would scrap tolls on the Severn crossings if they won power at the next election, in a move designed to save the average commuter around £1,500 a year. A third of Manchester's roads to go 20mph in first phase of city wide roll out Around a third of Manchester’s roads are set to become 20mph zones from Monday next week, with 111 miles across 1,100 streets covered by the permanent restrictions. Motorists voice road drainage concerns Road drainage this summer was no better than during the severe winter storms, according to 40% of AA members. Scotland set for its lowest annual road casualty figures Scotland achieved its lowest number of road casualties last year according to figures released this week, as congestion also fell to its lowest level since 1999. Wigan invest £11m in streetlights to save £1m a year Wigan Council to invest £11m in roll-out of 31,000 LED street lights in the next three years, to save £1m a year. Council investigates DIY toll road A 62-year-old businessman from the West Country has spent £150,000 building his own toll road to bypass roadworks on a damaged section of the A431. Islington to fine drivers for not turning off engines Islington LBC officers will fine drivers £20 if they do not turn off their engines when asked, if their car is standing idle. London taxis to go hybrid by 2018 Transport for London has unveiled four new ‘pure electric’ buses to help deliver air quality benefits through zero tail pipe emissions, along with plans to make all new taxis ‘zero emissions capable’ by 2018. Driverless cars to hit the roads from 2015 Driverless cars could be on the UK's roads from January next year, business secretary Vince Cable has revealed. Major RAC report raises concerns over local roads and parking A major state of the nation motoring report has warned of growing public dissatisfaction with the state of the UK’s roads, local parking services, the costs of motoring and the quality of public transport alternatives to driving. Fareham named UK's most car dependent town Official figures have revealed Fareham in Hampshire is Britain’s most car dependent town. DfT to raise speed limits for lorries The Department for Transport (DfT) is set to raise the speed limit for lorries on single carriageways from 40 to 50mph next year, in a controversial move that Whitehall’s transport analysts believe could provide an £11m boost to the industry. Brighton and Hove emissions data supports traffic smoothing project Brighton and Hove Council has used real-world bus emissions data to identify an air pollution hotspot for priority traffic smoothing. MPs push for ‘total transport’ solution in isolated communities MPs have called for testing of a ‘total transport’ solution in isolated communities that are faced with declining access to bus and rail services. Birmingham to refund only £14k of £1.7m bus lane fines Birmingham City Council has revealed just 233 fines worth around £14,000 in total are to be refunded to motorists caught driving in certain bus lanes despite tens of thousands being given penalty charge notices in areas where signs were ‘inadequate’. DfT to start planning on two options for Lower Thames Crossing The Department for Transport (DfT) will carry out a detailed appraisal of two lower Thames crossing options, after confirming that a new crossing will be built in east London. York to refund more than £1m in motorist fines A reported £1.8m is to be paid back to motorists that were fined for driving over a city centre bridge in York, after an independent review found the council might have acted unlawfully. Luton completes £24m ring road project Transport minister Baroness Kramer has opened a major highways scheme in Luton to help tackle traffic jams while supporting active travel for pedestrians and cyclists. Councils set for new powers to hold motor sports on public roads The prime minister has announced plans to give local authorities the power to stage motor sports events on public roads, in a move some suggest could boost the UK economy by £40m over five years. Defra launch £1m grant scheme to cut transport emissions The Government has launched a £1m grant programme for local authorities in England to tackle air pollution from road transport, after more than 30 projects benefited from the scheme last year. LGA conference: Councils 'can't see wood for trees' says AA chief Motorists are ‘losing the plot’ thanks to the ‘forest’ of varying local speed limits introduced by councils, a senior motoring representative has warned. Lord Whitty appointed chair of road safety foundation Former under-secretary of state at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, Lord Whitty, has been appointed chairman of the Road Safety Foundation, taking over from Lord Dubs who has led the charity since 2007. Councils to lobby for 'duty to cooperate' in Highways Agency reform Councils chiefs are seeking amendments to the Government’s legislation – launched this month with the Queen’s Speech – to transform the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company. 60mph limits rejected in bid for more smart motorways Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has rejected plans to limit speeds on key motorways to 60mph between 7am and 7pm seven days a week. A major response to the floods is needed Steve Kent, president of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) lays out why the national response to extreme weather must improve and how ADEPT members are best placed to take a leading role. Oxford Street has 'worst pollution in the world' Oxford Street has the highest levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions anywhere in the world, according to a new report. Nine out of 10 councils changed speed limits last year New research has found nine in ten councils changed speed limits in their areas last year. Road deaths fall to lowest level since records began The latest official figures show road deaths decreased by 2% last year compared to 2012, reaching the lowest figure since national records began in 1926 at 1,713. EXCLUSIVE: Council directors back new 'traffic specs' body Council directors are set to help ‘fill the void’ left by the Department for Transport (DfT) when it ends its management of the national specifications for traffic systems and equipment in 2015, Transport Network can reveal. New specification for utilities detection released Highways workers will benefit from the easier and more accurate detection of active or abandoned underground utilities through a new publicly available specification (PAS) issued this week by the British Standards Institution. Mashed potato ‘sea’ adds lumps to Yorkshire journey Mashed potato bought a major Yorkshire road to a stodgy standstill this weekend after powdered granules fell from a lorry onto the A64. EXCLUSIVE: North East to release major highways contract framework A group of councils in the North East are set to tender a highways surfacing contract framework worth at least £30m - with some estimates reaching as high as £100m over its potential five-year term - as part of the wider NE Highways Alliance project. Midlands Highways Alliance reveals winners in £260m contract framework The Midlands Highways Alliance (MHA) has revealed the contractors appointed for its £261m transport infrastructure framework. Sheffield plans major cuts to precautionary gritting Significant reforms to Sheffield’s winter maintenance service could see preventative gritting routes slashed across the region by more than 100 miles of road. South Gloucestershire to offload speed cameras to police South Gloucestershire Council is selling unused speed cameras to the local police for a ‘nominal sum’ that could be as low as £1 a camera. Millions more to be spent on A83 landslide protection The Scottish Government has announced a further £6m will be invested in the A83 in Argyll and Bute to mitigate the effects of landslides. Preferred bidder named for £745m Scottish road development Transport Scotland has named Connect Roads as its preferred bidder for the historic £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) road construction project. Driverless cars to prompt Highway Code rewrite Ministers are expected to rewrite the Highway Code to allow the use of self-driving vehicles on Britain’s roads as the UK looks to rival Google in driverless car technology. Birmingham to shake-off 'motor city' culture with 25-year plan Birmingham City Council has released a 25-year Mobility Action Plan (BMAP), outlining proposals to challenge the historic car culture of the city. Rail journeys on the rise but road journeys stagnate The number of rail passenger journeys across Britain jumped by 5.7% this year to reach 1.59bn for 2013-14, according to the latest official statistics, while road traffic volumes rose by only a fraction. Auditors slam Govt over 'unpredictable' road funding Highways Agency reforms will not be enough to address the problem of unpredictable funding for roads maintenance, government auditors have warned. TfL asks High Court for ruling taxi 'meter' app Transport for London has asked the High Court for a ruling on the legality of an app that calculates the costs of taxis amid anger from the taxi industry and threats of a ‘traffic chaos’ demonstration. Camden unveils £26m redesign plans for Tottenham Court Road Camden LBC has outlined a £26m plan to transform the Tottenham Court Road area of the West End ahead of the new Crossrail station in 2018, when Tottenham Court Road station will be busier than Heathrow Airport. Interview: Alan Mackenzie is taking on the challenge of a £12bn black hole The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey is seen by many as the national benchmark for highway maintenance performance in the UK. Its chairman Alan Mackenzie talks to Dominic Browne about the need to push for a long-term approach to highways maintenance. Google to start building driverless cars Google has revealed it will soon begin production on a prototype fleet of 100 driverless vehicles. Hounslow lights the way to safer streets Hounslow Highways is installing new LED street lights in the top 60 crime hotspots in the borough, as part of a joint initiative with local police. Emergency services raise alarm over council traffic cameras Emergency services personnel have warned the growing use of cameras to penalise moving traffic offences is making drivers reluctant to move aside for emergency vehicles, potentially increasing response times. Planned Silvertown tunnel would have 'freeflow charging from the start' Transport for London (TfL) would need to charge users of the Silvertown tunnel under the Thames from the outset but no further charging schemes are planned, bosses have revealed. A decade of Vision Zero – no longer just a vision It has been ten years since the introduction of advice in TA89/04 issued by the UK Highways Agency on the use of Passively Safe roadside furniture. Highways Agency plans 'charge as you drive' for electric vehicles The Highways Agency is considering ways to allow electric vehicles to recharge their batteries while they drive on the UK's strategic route network. New funding must be found for roads, MPs say Investment in roads will have to ‘substantially’ increase over the next decade with the Government having to find 'new funding streams' to support increased demand, MPs have said. Boris plans £30bn underground ring road London mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled initial plans for a 22-mile £30bn underground ring road in London, dubbed the ‘Inner Orbital Tunnel’. Cardiff set to help drivers 'forced' into moving traffic offences The first council outside London to take on enforcement of moving traffic offences says drivers who are ‘forced’ to infringe the Highway Code to assist emergency vehicles will not receive Penalty Charge Notices. MPs call for clarity on national transport plans Ministers should provide more specific examples of nationally important transport schemes and develop an integrated strategy reaching across national and local networks, an influential group of MPs said today. Comment: New technology to improve DfT traffic count data Parsons Brinckerhoff has won a two-year government contract to deliver the National Road Traffic Census data collection programme. Here the firm discusses its new approach. Freight transport back in growth as UK 'leads the world in ecommerce' The UK is 'leading the world in ecommerce' as the freight industry sees growth boosted for the first time since 2010 with help from online sales, according to a major new report. Milton Keynes launches £200m highways contract with Ringway Milton Keynes Council together with infrastructure company Ringway have officially launched a highways network maintenance and services contract in the unitary, worth up to £200m. DfT insists on 'pothole pledge' from councils bidding for extra funding The Department for Transport (DfT) has insisted English councils bidding for a share of a £168m pothole give away must sign a pledge setting out the number of potholes they will repair. Transport secretary officially approves Highways Agency transformation Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin today officially approved plans to transform the Highways Agency into a government-owned company in less than a year. Planning rules changed to allow traditional county signs Ministers have changed planning rules to allow councils to put up boundary signs marking traditional English counties that date back more than 1000 years, including the likes of Cumberland, Huntingdonshire and Middlesex. European Commission demands UK action plan on emissions The UK Government is under growing pressure from the European Commission (EC) to produce a ‘credible and workable plan’ for meeting European emission standards, Transport Network can reveal. Parsons Brinckerhoff wins national road traffic census contract Engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff has secured a contract to undertake national road traffic census counts for the Government, forming a key part of the evidence base for transport funding. Comment: Maintaining what we have When you are short of money, what is the one thing you do with your assets? You look after them. You know you cannot afford to replace things, so you repair and maintain them instead. Easter congestion predicted as 6.5 million expected on the roads Britain is set for the busiest day of the year on the road network with around 6.5 million people estimated to be planning day trips over the holiday period, according to a survey from Visit England. The 30 year wait that finally paid off A new park and ride and motorway bus lane is about to be completed in Portsmouth to help with nearby development. Sally Devine finds out more. Highways Agency launches first permanent smart motorways scheme The Highways Agency has announced a red X traffic control will be employed for its latest smart motorways scheme on the M25, commanding motorists to not drive in a motorway lane where the sign is displayed. Highways Agency releases new £1.5bn A14 upgrade plans The Highways Agency has released updated plans for its £1.5bn A14 upgrade, reiterating there will be no tolling involved. City of London confirms 20mph limit will start in July Central London’s Square Mile will become a 20mph zone in July after the City of London Corporation’s transport committee voted to implement the speed restriction this week. Comment: The changing market for Surface Dressing With surface dressing season upon us, Dr Howard Robinson chief executive and company secretary of the RSTA, takes us through what you need to know. Comment: Lessons learnt from a life spent in highways Experienced highway engineer Chris Summers takes a look at how road maintenance techniques have changed over the last generation, for better and worse... Comment: The City of London Corporation on air pollution 'We all now recognise that there is a problem, and if we are to secure the improvements that are needed in London, we all need to play our part.' London mayor 'should introduce special measures' as air pollution warning continues London assembly members are calling for emergency measures to allow traffic restrictions in the capital, as Government experts warn ‘very high’ levels of air pollution made worse by Saharan desert dust will continue in England and Wales for several days. Majority want parking on pavement banned, new poll suggests The majority of local residents and politicians believe parking on the pavement should be banned considering the dangers it causes vulnerable residents especially the blind and partially sighted, a new poll suggests. Boris announces £1.8m to transform London’s streets A £1.8m transformation fund for London has been launched to boost sustainable transport and test new street layouts and alternative ways that roads can be used. DfT chief sends out warning on Highways Agency reform The Department for Transport's (DfT) strategic roads director used his speech at the first national Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) conference this week to send out warnings to both contractors and politicians. Volvo makes next step in driverless cars technology Volvo has announced a step forward in the driverless car market, with an approach that seeks to adjust both the cars that we drive and the roads that we drive on. Analysis: The North South commuting divide A recent study looked into the distances that commuters travel to work and whether the area that they lived in had a vital part to play. Budget 2014: £140m funding to improve flood defences Chancellor George Osborne has announced £140m of new funding to repair and maintain flood defences in his 2014 Budget. Widow to sue council over pothole-related road death The widow of a cyclist who died after hitting a road defect on his bike, plans to sue North Yorkshire CC it has emerged. Road safety markings in devolved nations 'well below UK standard' Road safety markings in Wales and Scotland have fallen ‘well below’ UK standards, with a majority requiring replacement, a survey has concluded. Road safety data crunching Does an online tool published earlier this year represent the future of analysing road safety for local authorities? James Evison reports. Comment: Stephen Joseph on the Govt's road network proposals The Government’s draft National Policy Statement (NPS) proposes building new roads for 40% more car, van and lorry trips by 2040. This is neither realistic nor desirable. Strategic road network 'operating as normal' after storms Downing Street has confirmed the strategic road network is now ‘operating as normal’, as the UK’s transport network gets back on track following the devastating weather of the last few weeks. Liverpool set to invest £80m in highways Liverpool City Council is set to invest £80m over the next eight years in its highways network, in a move set to significantly cut Liverpool’s £256m highways maintenance backlog by 2022. Road safety campaigners add to calls for traffic signs reform Roads safety campaigners have called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to end its ‘needlessly stringent' signage rules ahead of an expected public consultation on the issue, claiming the regulations are a barrier to 20mph zones. Roads minister tells highways industry to 'scale-up' in advance of £24bn investment Roads minister Robert Goodwill says 'capacity will be a problem' in delivering the Government’s £24bn highways investment commitment by 2021. UK faces 'months of transport disruption' due to floods The UK’s flooding crisis shows no sign of abating as weather forecasts predict more rain throughout the week and ministers and transport bosses warn the devastation could take months to clear up. Roads minister hints English councils are getting closer to moving traffic powers Roads minister Robert Goodwill has raised expectations that councils across England could be given powers over enforcing moving traffic violations, suggesting he is only waiting for positive feedback from Transport for London. English councils call for moving traffic powers to protect cyclists Cyclists could be better protected if councils were granted stronger powers to target dangerous drivers, council leaders have said. Scottish councils paying £1,600 a day for pothole damage Pothole damage costs Scottish local authorities more than £1,600 a day in compensation claims last year, figures suggest. Flooding crisis hits the Thames The UK’s flooding crisis continued this week as record water levels were recorded at several locations on the Thames, affecting train services between Staines and Windsor and Eton Riverside stations. Environment Agency cannot protect both town and country, chairman warns The chairman of the Environment Agency has issued a stark warning on flood protection, suggesting the Government cannot afford to protect both town and country from extreme weather. RSTA Comment: 'The rise and fall of High Friction Surfacing' The first in a series of exclusive articles for Transport Network from the Road Surface Treatments Association, charts the rise and fall of high friction road surfacing. East Lancashire transport masterplan outlines future for investment A masterplan for future transport provision in East Lancashire will support ‘millions of pounds’ of local investment, councils have confirmed. Leading UK transport researchers to join EU wireless charging project The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has announced it will be taking part in a major European Commission project into wireless charging for electric vehicles. South of England set for more flooding from high tides The south of England is set for more severe weather, potential floods and transport disruption, as six severe flood warnings are issued for coastal stretches in Devon and Cornwall. Pickles reveals projects shortlisted for share of £100m infrastructure fund Communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced the 12 shortlisted projects in line to receive a share of a £100m infrastructure fund for local enterprise zones. PM 'rules nothing out' in bid to tackle floods David Cameron pledged that river dredging in Somerset will start as soon as possible in prime minister’s questions today, as the Government’s emergency response committee met to discuss the issue of flooding. Environment Agency defends handling of floods The Environment Agency has defended its response to recent flooding in the wake of criticism that it has not done enough to dredge dangerous rivers. Pickles attacks Cambridge over missing apostrophes Communities secretary Eric Pickles has blasted Cambridge City Council over its decision to abolish apostrophes on new street signs, labelling it ‘disingenuous and unnecessary’. More flood warnings prompt anger over 'same lame excuses' More flood warnings have been issued by the Met Office for southern England, as some local MPs voice growing public anger over situation. London streets need 'overhaul' to cope with Crossrail surge Highways around central London could require a massive overhaul due to the impact of the new Crossrail service, a report has claimed. Highlands flood damage to cost £450,000 Damage caused by the latest tranche of severe weather has cost the Highlands Council almost half-a-million pounds, it has been revealed. New shared space schemes developed in south west More 'shared space' schemes are set to go ahead in the south west of England, while the debate rumbles on over safety concerns for the visually impaired and disabled. ‘Deadly temptation’ of motorway pub savaged by road safety groups Road safety campaigners have slammed the opening of a pub at a motorway service station, claiming it is ‘at odds’ with public opinion. Pothole damages on the rise RAC claims The RAC has recorded a 67% rise in vehicle related pothole damage last year, with motorists spending £100m repairing the damage. Highways Agency delivers 'fourfold return' on major schemes Major schemes on England's strategic road network on average deliver a £4 return in long-term benefits for every £1 spent, according to a major study from the Highways Agency. Capita wins £145m of TfL contracts Congestion charge and Low Emission Zone (LEZ) operations in London will be passed back to Capita from next October alongside a bus lane enforcement contract. Essex CC makes £500 pothole payout after losing court case A motorist in Colchester whose car was damaged by a pothole has won a £500 payout from Essex CC, after taking the case to the county court. NI undertakes gritting review following spike in road collisions Winter resilience measures in Northern Ireland are facing intense scrutiny after the devolved nation suffered 42 collisions on its roads in a three-hour period, one of which was fatal. New asphalt recycling centre opens in Beds A new £250,000 asphalt recycling centre for road and pavement surfacing projects by both the private and public sector has opened near Bedford. No end yet to UK's flooding crisis, as more rain expected this week Southern England faces a risk of more flooding this week the Environment Agency has warned as more rain is expected. Highways Agency puts two major contracts out to tender Leading infrastructure companies have been invited by the Highways Agency to bid for two major maintenance and improvement contracts for England’s trunk road network. Council chiefs to appeal to Michael Gove over M3 quiet surfacing Plans to only partially install quiet road surfacing on a section of the M3 earmarked for a smart motorways scheme have been criticised by local leaders – who have approved plans to call on cabinet minister and local on MP Michael Gove for help. £600m trunk road contract awarded in West Midlands Maintenance of major roads in the West Midlands will be passed to EM Highway Services from July this year, the Highways Agency (HA) has announced. Local authorities increase highways investment in run up to winter A new report shows councils have invested heavily in extra gritting salt, hardware and social media use this year, in order to keep the country's highways moving this winter. Flooding dangers continue as MPs raise concerns over Defra cuts The severe storms that brought transport chaos and misery to many over Christmas show no signs of letting up as forecasters warn of fresh flooding dangers. Transport networks ‘vulnerable’ to winter weather, MPs warn Transport infrastructure remains vulnerable to adverse winter weather, with robust public communication needed to drive further improvements, according to MPs. 2012-13 sees 'record surplus' for council parking charges English councils made a record haul of almost £600m from parking charges in 2012-13, according to a report from the RAC Foundation. Council calls for action on A417 'missing link' Cotswold DC has called on the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport to support a dualling scheme in the area to tackle ‘chronic’ congestion problems. Congestion costs UK more than £4.4bn a year, study claims Congestion in the UK’s 18 largest urban zones is costing car commuting households £4.4bn a year, according to estimates from a new economic study. First UK road trial of cycle-level traffic lights comes to London Cycle safety in London could receive a boost in the New Year after ministers approved the first UK road trials of eye-level traffic lights from January. Winners of latest round of local pinch point funding revealed Ministers have revealed the winners of the latest tranche of local pinch-point funding, releasing £49m for 25 schemes designed to tackle congestion hot spots, alongside announcing a raft of major road and rail works. DfT to boost road building by removing CO2 considerations Plans to drastically lower the planning bar for new road schemes have been released by the Department for Transport (DfT). Major storm leaves two dead and transport networks in disarray A violent storm has battered the UK leaving at least two dead, closing rail services across Scotland and hitting swathes of coastline with a tidal surge that forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes. Cambridgeshire trial new 'cycle friendly' traffic lights Cambridgeshire CC has been given the chance to trial a new traffic light system that could help save cyclists lives by giving them a head start at junctions. ‘Red’ travel warning issued across Scotland Travel chaos has hit the north of the UK as Transport Scotland has escalated its travel warning to stage four red. Autumn Statement: Chancellor announces more relief for motorists Chancellor George Osborne kept true to form in today’s Autumn Statement, with tax relief for motorists forming a central plank of the Government’s transport announcements. UK put on flood alert as 100mph winds hit Scotland has been hit by 100mph winds as large parts of the UK face massive travel disruption and the Environment Agency warns of a significant coastal flooding. DfT launches consultation on national networks policy The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on the policy framework that transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will base nationally significant road and rail scheme planning decisions on. Govt's flood crisis plan outlines transport role A new report has outlined Whitehall's responsibilities for the management of major national flooding incidents, including details on transport and infrastructure. Pickles intervenes on Tour de France localism powers conflict Harrogate BC has been caught in an unprecedented legal debacle over its hosting of the Tour de France next year, which has resulted in a parliamentary intervention from communities secretary Eric Pickles. Labour vows to force lorries into safety measures Operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) should sign-up to a voluntary safety improvement charter - or risk legislation after the next election - Labour shadow transport secretary, Mary Creagh has said. Govt and freight industry reject EU regulation on driver training The Department for Transport (DfT) has agreed with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to reject extra EU regulations on identifying a professional driver's training needs. Half of cars will be able to 'read' road signs by 2025 By 2025 at least half of road vehicles will be capable of ‘reading’ road signs and markings, according to a new report. £18m boost for Merseyside congestion-busting scheme Transport minister Baroness Kramer today gave a final go-ahead to release funds for £18m worth of major roadworks on some of the busiest networks in Merseyside. Highways Agency director outlines major cost-cutting plans The Highways Agency could slash procurement costs by 20% and make savings by laying and maintaining some stretches of road to lesser standards, the non-executive director, Alan Cook, has told the transport select committee. Cold Comfort: Minister commits to 'substantial salt stocks' and praises new salt standard The Government has committed to maintaining a substantial national strategic salt reserve, local transport minister Norman Baker told Surveyor’s Cold Comfort 2013 event. A fifth of drivers admit causing an accident A survey of more than 1,000 motorists has revealed more than a quarter of UK drivers have been involved in a road accident, with 22.6% admitting it was their own fault. Met launches major road safety operation The metropolitan police have launched a major road safety operation involving 2,500 officers on London streets during rush hour, following six cyclist deaths in the last two weeks. Comment: Stephen Joseph on why the road haulage industry is holding back safety With six cyclists killed on London’s roads in just two weeks, road safety is very much in the headlines. Ending the Government’s acquiescence to the road haulage industry is an important first step in keeping all road users safe. Cycle counters arrive in Scotland Digital counters have been installed at nine sites across Scotland to monitor the number of cyclists passing through the area. Govt rejects calls for ban on hands-free phones while driving As new figures show half a million UK drivers have points on their licence for multi-tasking at the wheel, road safety charity Brake has launched a national campaign to crack down on driver distractions to launch national road safety week. London bucks national trend with fall in congestion London has shown a surprise fall in congestion on locally managed 'A' roads over the past year, as Government figures suggest national levels are rising. England faces increasing risks of floods this winter, Environment Agency warns Roads and homes across England are facing an increased flooding risk this winter because the ground is saturated and strong westerly jet streams will bring heavy bands of rain, the Environment Agency has warned. Robot repairs gas main in south London without roadside digging A £1m robot has been used to repair gas mains in south London without having to dig holes in the road. East region delivers best cost-benefit for roads cash, figures show The east of England is due to deliver an impressive cost-benefit return on planned roads investment of £6.4bn for less than £876m spent, according to new Department for Transport (DfT) data. Yotta wins survey work in Hounslow Road surveying and consultancy work worth £100k a year for Hounslow LBC has been awarded to technology firm Yotta from the beginning of 2014, it has been announced. Greater Manchester to get 'smart motorways' The Highways Agency has unveiled plans to bring smart motorways – formally known as managed motorways – to Greater Manchester, creating an extra lane in busy sections of the M62. Two thirds of councils make streetlighting cuts Around two thirds of councils have made cuts to streetlighting by either dimming lights or switching them off altogether, it has emerged. Driverless vehicles to hit Milton Keynes by 2017 Plans to deploy one hundred driverless ‘pods’ in Milton Keynes by 2017 have been announced by the local authority. Council chiefs reject external scrutiny body for local roads Council chiefs have warned the Government against creating an external scrutiny system for local authority roads responsibilities, calling it ‘unnecessary and counterproductive’. Overwhelming local authority support for red diesel gritting concession Overwhelming parish council and local community support for the use of red diesel fuel in any vehicle gritting rural areas has resulted in the move being signed off by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Carillion wins £70m 'smart motorways' contract The Highways Agency has awarded a £70.5m construction contract to Carillion PLC to convert the hard should of a major strategic section of the M6 into an active lane. £28m flood defences unveiled in West Sussex A £28m sea defence scheme has been unveiled along the south coast in West Sussex, providing communities with improved flood protection along its key 7km stretch. Wigan starts winter campaign in 'state of the art' new depot Wigan BC has responded to the first signs of winter weather this year, sending out ten gritting vehicles to carry our precautionary treatments as temperatures fell below freezing in the borough for the first time this winter. London Gateway 'super-port' opens for business The UK’s first new deep-water port for more than two decades opens for business this week when the MOL Caledon, a 58,000-tonne container ship from South Africa, docks at the London Gateway. Council chiefs plead for Govt to spare roads in Autumn Statement Cash for essential council services such as pothole repair and highways maintenance should not be squeezed any further in the Government’s Autumn Statement next month, council chiefs have warned. Surrey completes 40 miles of road repairs in six months Surrey CC has completed 40 miles of major road repairs over the last six months, equivalent to £14.7m of maintenance work. Breaking: Lorry crash brings M25 to a standstill Four people have been injured in a crash on the M25 that saw a long lorry overturned across the road. TfL records 16% drop in road fatalities last year, but KSIs increase Transport for London (TfL) recorded a 2% reduction in road collisions and casualties last year, with fatalities falling by 16% (159 to 134), to the second lowest level since recent records began. Govt consults on plans to give Highways Agency new powers Powers to shift the country’s motorway and trunk road network away from central government control have been put out to public consultation by the Department for Transport (DfT). UPDATE: Five dead as UK left reeling after 99mph winds The UK has suffered at least five deaths, widespread transport disruption and major power outages, after the worst storms seen since 1987 battered parts of the south of England. Contractors push Osborne for ‘real action’ on road maintenance Road surfacing contractors have renewed pressure on chancellor George Osborne to announce immediate investment in road maintenance in his upcoming Autumn Statement. Transport companies accused of avoiding millions in taxes An investigation by Corporate Watch and The Independent newspaper has claimed major transport companies are using a legal tax avoidance scheme to escape millions of pounds of taxes. South and West braced for 80mph storms and transport disruption The Met Office has warned the most powerful storms seen in years could descend on Britain next week, hitting parts of England with gales of up to 80mph just in time for half-term. Telford set for £12m transport boost The expansion of Telford town centre has lead to £11.8m planned improvements to surrounding transport infrastructure to facilitate the increased capacity at key entry points. Friday Thought: Funny games It was meant as a joke between friends on Facebook but has rapidly escalated into a nationwide story. A picture of one worker fixing a traffic light and six other Highways Agency workers doing...very little. Study finds A-roads 7x more dangerous than motorways Drivers are seven times more likely to have a collision on an A-road than on a motorway, according to new figures. Strike action from traffic wardens could create 'motoring heaven' Scores of traffic wardens in the London borough of Ealing are set to create ‘motoring heaven’ by going on strike as the chances of receiving a parking ticket are heavily reduced, trade union Unite has warned. DfT signs off £24m for major highways works in North and Midlands The Government has announced more than £24m of funding to support major highways works in Leeds and on the A452 Chester Road in Birmingham. Comment: Stephen Joseph raises alarm on health issues around new roads The Government wants a lot more roads built across the country but as the first schemes reach the planning stage, they are meeting stern opposition. Govt announces plans to clamp down on cost of driving Motorists could see driving costs slashed under a package of measures announced by the Government today, including action on high insurance premiums. Liverpool removes all bus lanes in controversial nine-month experiment Liverpool City Council has launched a controversial nine-month experiment to suspend the operation of all bus lanes in the city. Research suggests danger from HGVs is getting worse Transport campaigners have called on ministers to take drastic action to tackle the dangers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) after new research suggests lorries are involved in an increasing percentage of fatal road accidents in the UK. Motorists oppose clocks going back in bid to save lives More than 70% of motorists don’t want the clocks to go back this Sunday and 60% believe there would be fewer deaths on British roads if the system were abolished, according to a new survey. Hartlepool to replace all its street lights for £5m All of Hartlepool’s street lights are to be replaced with new LED lights at a cost of £5m. Labour joins calls to scrap longer lorry trials The Labour Party together with leading transport experts have called on the Government to scrap its trial of longer freight lorries on safety and sustainability grounds. East Lancs plans put forward Transportation plans across the East Lancashire region have been outlined by the county council in the area. River maintenance pilots cut red tape to combat flooding The Government has launched seven river maintenance pilots in a bid to slash red tape and improve flood management techniques that could protect the UK's road network. Debate over £20m publication of traffic orders reopened Roadworks information provider ELGIN has called on the new transport minister Baroness Kramer to lift the compulsory requirement for local authorities to publish traffic orders in local newspapers. Ministers consider curfew for novice drivers to save lives Ministers are considering tough new measures to reduce road accidents among novice drivers including banning them from using all mobile phones, including hands-free sets, or driving between 10pm and 5am unless accompanied by someone over 30. Potholes cost councils £2.5m a year in compensation claims alone The UK’s potholes crisis is costing councils £2.5m a year in compensation claims and the problem looks set to get worse as the number is shooting up. Amey wins £200m Area 8 highways contract The Highways Agency had awarded infrastructure firm Amey a £200m five-year contract to manage and maintain the strategic road network in Area 8 in the East of England. Welsh Government announces £600m infrastructure boost in budget Key infrastructure projects in Wales have been given a £617.5m boost, under the draft budget announced this week. Comment: Stephen Joseph reviews how transport is setting the political agenda While pollsters will tell you no one votes on the basis of transport policy, transport related issues are at the centre of much which will decide the outcome of the next General Election. Road Expo 2013 to feature the sector's great and good Scotland’s transport heavyweights will be in attendance at this year’s Road Expo exhibition on the 6 - 7 November in Edinburgh, including Keith Brown, minister for transport and veterans. Councils ready for winter season with major gritting investment Councils across the country are on alert for potential gritting runs at the end of this week as the first cold snap of the winter season is expected to hit the UK. Councils given power to destroy blue badges New legislation has granted parking enforcement officers powers formerly only available to the police over blue badge violations, including the power to retain and destroy badges. TfL to develop a freight strategy for London A new trial of out-of-hours deliveries has been unveiled by Transport for London (TfL), as part of the ongoing development of a London-wide strategy to reduce freight congestion. DfT and Lancashire win High Court legal battle over M6 link road The Government and Lancashire CC have won a High Court battle with a local campaigning group over a £124m planned link road between the M6 and the port of Heysham on Morecambe Bay. Street works 'common language' updated to save thousands of work hours The Department for Transport (DfT) has upgraded its technical specification for the Electronic Transfer of Notices (EToN) on street works, in a move estimated to save around 2000 work hours a week for councils and utility firms. New safety code released for highways teams A new code of practice has been released by the Department for Transport to ensure the correct safety procedures during highways works. A14 toll unfairly singles out the east, says LEP Placing a compulsory toll on upcoming A14 improvements would single out the east of England for unfair business transport costs, according to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). DfT releases another £80m in pinch-point cash Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has released £80m of further ‘pinch point’ funding to remove bottlenecks on the UK’s road network, with £25m of the cash dedicated to local schemes. 15,000 motorway breakdowns a year are 'tyre-related' English motorways see more than 15,000 'tyre-related' breakdowns every year the Highways Agency has revealed as part of its support for Tyre Safety Month in October. Cyclist deaths on the rise across UK Latest figures have shown an increase in the number of cyclists being killed on roads in the UK year-on-year, according to data from the Department for Transport. MPs launch winter service review The Transport Committee has announced a review of winter resilience – the third major study in four years - for the next session of parliament. New amendments to Welsh Active Travel Bill welcomed New amendments to the Active Travel Bill in Wales have been welcomed by sustainable transport charity, Sustrans. Highways Agency unveils £5bn contract framework for major projects Plans for a new collaborative development framework have been put forward by the Highways Agency for investing £5bn-worth of projects across the country’s motorway and trunk road network. Birmingham to go 20mph on '90% of roads' The UK's largest transport authority Birmingham City Council has announced plans to invest £7m in converting '90% of its roads to a 20mph speed limit'. Analysis: Ipsos MORI finds roads top of the agenda for councils Public concern about the state of our roads and the cleanliness of our streets leapfrogged schools, health services and even crime in this year’s Ipsos MORI research, as Victoria Harkness - head of local government research at independent research agency - explains. Gov hands thousands of residents a better deal on Dartford Crossing Thousands of residents living close to the Dartford-Thurrock Crossing are set to recieve unlimited trips across the Thames for £20 a year, it has been announced. Scottish budget includes £8bn infrastructure spend Plans to deliver £8bn in infrastructure spending over the next two years were outlined by the Scottish Government in its budget this week, with commitments to transport schemes despite swingeing cuts. Month of works on A46 to begin Resurfacing works on the A46 are due to be carried out over the next month in order to improve the general state of the carriageway. Jaguar to create 1,700 jobs with billion pound investment Prime minister David Cameron has welcomed Jaguar Land Rover's plans to create 1,700 new jobs with a £1.5bn injection into its Solihull production line. Mott MacDonald to design £24m A14 widening scheme Engineering consultant Mott MacDonald has been appointed to design the Highways Agency’s £24m 4km widening scheme on the A14 near Kettering. Hounslow unveils collaborative working plan Hounslow Highways has embarked on a collaborative working agreement with utility companies to share road space and carry out works at the same time to try and minimise disruption to residents and businesses. Highways Agency plans for £1.5bn A14 upgrade include local tolling The Highways Agency has published £1.5bn plans to upgrade the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, including the possibility of local toll roads to ease congestion on the major route. Reading cycle network set to expand to Windsor Plans to develop an extension to the Reading cycle network in Wokingham have been put forward by officers at the borough council. Tens of thousands of London school children put at risk by road pollution Tens of thousands of school children are being put at risk by road pollution in London as more than 1,000 schools are found to be within 150 metres of roads with such bad traffic emissions it could affect their health. £500m 'missing' from the costings for five Scottish transport projects Concern has been raised about a £500m blackhole in the cost of five major transport projects in Scotland. HGV road user charging takes a step closer Government plans for a time-based road user charging system for foreign heavy goods vehicles (HGVS) took a step closer today with the appointment of Northgate Public Services to develop and operate the system. Boris announces shortlist for London's £100m 'mini-Holland' fund Mayor of London Boris Johnson has revealed the eight shortlisted boroughs hoping to win a share of a £100m ‘mini-Holland’ cash pot to help revolutionise the capital’s cycling infrastructure. New best practice guidance for pothole repairs A leading highways sector body has released a new best practice guide for road maintenance and pothole repair patching systems. Ringway expands operations in Cheshire West and Chester Leading highways contractor Ringway has pledged to create 21 local job opportunities in road worker positions for its client Cheshire West and Chester Council. Majority of councils making progress on pothole strategies The majority of local authorities in the UK have adopted progressive pothole repair strategies in the wake of last year’s Pothole Review document, according to a recent survey. FM Conway boosts asphalt capacity with £10m plant Infrastructure services company FM Conway has received planning consent for a £10m state of the art asphalt plant in Heathrow. Energy producing noise barriers to be trialled on M40 A groundbreaking new type of highway noise barrier that can produce renewable energy looks set to be trialled along parts of the M40 after the successful completion of a feasibility study. Kent prepares for winter service Kent CC has begun preparations for winter with the storage of 19,000 tonnes of salt in depots across the county - and more deliveries coming. Wolmar Says: road tolling is as popular as caravans in the fast lane Britain’s roads are going to go through changes as radical as those when the motorway network was first built. New motoring offences and increased fines come into force Drivers could be caught out by a range of new motoring offences and increased fines from midnight tonight as part of changes announced by Department for Transport (DfT). Councils fail to act on their own climate change strategies, research finds Research assessed 30 cities and found that while all of them recognised climate change was a serious threat, most were failing to implement policies that could reduce problems like transport-linked surface emissions. Isle of Wight joint venture to supply materials and road upgrades A new joint venture company is to supply building materials on the Isle of Wight while servicing the region’s £750m highways Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Drivers misuse hard shoulder for flower picking and family photos Drivers in the Midlands are being asked to stop misusing the hard shoulder, after it was found hundreds illegally enter the lanes every day. Freight sector and cyclists at loggerheads over training exemptions for lorry drivers Freight drivers and cyclist groups are at loggerheads over a decision by roads minister Stephen Hammond to abolish compulsory training for people driving Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) for repair or testing. Ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040, Lib Dems say The Liberal Democrats have launched radical plans to decarbonise transport including proposals to ban all but the lowest carbon-emitting vehicles from the roads by 2040. Peterborough names preferred bidder on £150m highways contract Peterborough City Council has named Atkins as its preferred bidder to deliver a ten-year highways contract worth up to £150m covering road maintenance, street lighting and gully cleansing. Watered-down Ultra Low Emission Zone plan to make London air ‘dirtier’ London’s air quality is set to worsen under mayor Boris Johnson’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, according to a member of the London Assembly. Cumbria CC to get a further £7m for flood repairs Cumbria CC is to receive a further £7m boost from the Government to help repair local roads damaged by flooding in 2009, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today. Traffic on the rise as light goods vehicles hit all time high Congestion on locally managed ‘A’ roads increased during peak hours this spring, with all motor vehicle traffic on all road types increasing and light vehicle miles reaching their highest since records began. 'Roads are not enough' DfT tells international development colleagues The Department for Transport (DfT) has sent a clear warning to colleagues at the Department for International Development (DFID) that ‘roads are not enough to improve mobility’ based on international data sets. Brighton plans to extend phase 2 of 20mph scheme Brighton and Hove City Council has announced plans to extend its 20mph speed limit across most of the city following a consultation due to begin this month. Pickles tells councils 'let residents rent their drives' Councils have been warned to not prevent households renting out their drives and unused off-street parking spaces by communities secretary Eric Pickles. Bexhill-Hastings link road has ‘low’ value for money, campaigners find Campaigners have called for construction of the Bexhill-Hastings link road (BHLR) to be cancelled, after calculations suggested the scheme has ‘low’ value for money. National Joint Utilities Group announces new CEO The National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) – the UK’s only Trade Association representing utilities and their contractors on road works matters - has announced its new chief executive officer will be Bob Gallienne. New CPD seminar explains suds The Concrete Pipeline Systems Association (CPSA) has a new, independently certified CPD (Continuing Professional Development) presentation on the issue of surface water management. HMEP launches leaflet for councillors on highways maintenance The Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) has launched a new leaflet aimed at local politicians, explaining how asset management in highway maintenance can ensure the ‘best use of available funds’. Electric car charging spots not used despite millions of council investment UK councils have spent £7.2m on electric car charging points in the past three years but many have not been used, with take up of the low emission vehicles still sluggish. DfT figures show road deaths falling by 10% Provisional estimates from the Department for Transport show the number of deaths in road accidents has fallen by 10% in the year ending March 2013, with reported child casualties (ages 0-15) falling by 14%. Remote rural areas to get 5p a litre cut in fuel duty Drivers in remote areas will be offered a cut in fuel duty by the Treasury under plans announced today. MPs tell insurers to get their 'house in order' on whiplash fraud Motor insurers must ‘end practices which encourage fraud and exaggeration’ and introduce stricter requirements for whiplash claims in efforts to stamp out insurance fraud a cross-party group of MPs has warned. Introduce low emission zone early to save thousands, Boris told The world’s first ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) must be introduced to the capital sooner than 2020 as thousands of deaths each year are linked to air pollution, London Assembly members have warned. McLoughlin raises stakes on ultra-low emission vehicles Government and manufacturers are joining together to push for purchasing of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said. Govt's National Travel Survey shows car is still king New government figures have revealed the total number of UK transport trips across all modes has fallen by 12% since the mid-1990s - with car travel still the dominant mode. Flooding closes roads in Midlands and North East The hottest July in seven years gave way to torrential rain and flooding across parts of the UK this weekend, closing roads in city centres in the Midlands and the North East. HMEP to launch new client-provider collaboration guidance The Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) is set to launch a new product on client-provider collaboration this summer, using UK case studies to help establish current good practice. Surrey and East Sussex launch joint roadworks permit scheme Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has approved a joint roadworks permit scheme between Surrey and East Sussex county councils, which will ‘save millions by cutting traffic jams’ the authorities said. Govt slammed by MPs for lack of action on rural transport Ministers must develop a comprehensive transport strategy to ‘reverse the trend of declining accessibility to key services in rural areas’ a cross-party group of MPs has warned. Council to nominate traffic noise 'hotspots' under new plans Ministers plan to create 'noise hotspots' with similar protections as local green spaces under plans to drive down transport noise pollution. South East tells Govt we are 'ready for roads cash now' Councils in the South East led by Buckinghamshire CC have called on the Government to bring forward cash earmarked for future road repairs, stating they are ‘shovel-ready now’. Council gritters act to stop roads melting With parts of Britain expecting the hottest temperatures of the year this week, councils’ highways teams have been spreading rock dust to stop roads from melting. Sunderland abandons contentious New Wear Crossing on cost grounds Our sister publication Bridge magazine on Sunderland City Council ditching plans to build the 'iconic' New Wear Crossing. Rural roads become 'hit-and-run hotspots' Rural roads in some of the most affluent parts of the country saw the highest number of hit-and-run crimes last year, with figures almost three times the national average. Half of road deaths 'could be avoided' A new road safety initiative supported by an alliance of emergency service officers could prevent nearly half of all road traffic fatalities - saving almost 1000 lives a year - according to experts. Analysis: Winter service…how about summer resilience? Winter resilience has been the central focus of pothole concern for the last few years. But with roads suffering degradation due to extreme heat this month, should we begin to look at summer resilience? James Evison reports. Transport sector reacts to Govt's new road strategy The Government's new command paper on roads has been welcomed and criticised in equal measure by the transport industry following the announcement of £28bn of highways investment. Work on Midland junctions given go-ahead Upgrades to two road projects in the Midlands have been given the go-ahead by roads minister Stephen Hammond. RAC: Young drivers 'need more testing' Driver training should be reformed in order to bring down the alarming number of accidents and fatalities in the 17-24 age group, the RAC Foundation has reported. Govt traffic modelling: HS2 'does not affect' figures as congestion grows Traffic will grow by fifth over the next decade as England comes out of recession and greater fuel efficiencies reduce the cost of road travel. Latest Pothole Review document launched An update on the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme’s (HMEP) Pothole Review has been released by the Department for Transport (DfT), as best practice from the project begins to be embedded across the sector. Extra flood cash won't protect our roads, MPs warn The Government’s Spending Round commitment to boost flood protection funding will not be enough to defend the nation against the rising risks - with threats to roads and food production of particular concern - MPs have warned. Cardiff plans enforcement of moving traffic Cameras on buses could be involved in Cardiff CC’s plan to become the first council outside London to enforce moving-traffic rules. Islington traffic blackspot ripped out after council admits mistake A traffic-calming measure that cost more than £130,000 and caused multiple accidents in Islington has been ripped out after the town hall admitted it was wrong to install it. Preferred bidder confirmed for £600m Mersey Gateway Project Halton BC has announced Merseylink as preferred bidder for the Mersey Gateway Project, which will deliver a new £600m toll bridge to the region. Long-term infrastructure strategy needed, experts say The Government’s £100bn investment in infrastructure must be complimented by a long-term funding strategy to ensure success, transport professionals have said. CIHT appoints first woman president The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) - which represents more than 12,000 highways and transportation professionals - has appointed its first woman president since the organisation formed in 1930. Highways Agency closes in on £300m of savings in 2012-13 The Highways Agency made savings of nearly £300m over the last year under the Government’s infrastructure efficiency drive, Ministers claimed today. 2013 CIHT awards winners Highways and transportation professionals celebrated the best of this year’s outstanding achievements last night at the annual Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) awards. Atkins UK boss still ‘cautiously optimistic on roads’ The boss of Atkins in the UK and Europe has told Transport Network he remains ‘cautiously optimistic on roads’ despite selling the company's highways business to Skanska. Cardiff plans to scrap disabled parking bay regulations Cardiff CC plans cheaper disabled parking bays in residential areas by omitting Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) and signs on poles. ICE: Wales 'leading the way' on road maintenance The Institution of Civil Engineers is urging England to copy Wales’ Local Government Borrowing Initiative (LGBI), which is providing £170m over three years for highway repairs. Transport set to dominate Spending Review Transport looks set to be the big winner in this month’s Spending Review with ministers expected to announce a multi-billion pound long-term commitment to major projects. EnterpriseMouchel wins £140m Highways Agency contract The Highways Agency has awarded EnterpriseMouchel a £140m contract for maintenance and improvement work on central southern English roads. MPs warned over lack of local parking monitoring Concern has been raised about current parking enforcement laws following the first oral evidence session to the transport committee on the issue. Costain wins £60m Hammersmith Flyover contract A £60m repair deal to strengthen the Hammersmith Flyover has been given to contractor Costain by Transport for London (TfL). DfT leaves the door open to further local pinch point cash The Department for Transport (DfT) has left the door open to providing further local pinch point cash after exhausting the current £190m fund on some 72 congestion-busting projects. OECD: Up infrastructure spend for growth The Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) has claimed the UK should invest more in infrastructure for growth. BPF: Ensure CIL regimes are pro-growth Reform of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should focus on economic growth and introduce financial certainty to the sector if it is to be successful, according to the British Property Federation (BPF). Highways Agency reveals Area 8 difficulties The Highways Agency has announced further complications with its new Asset Support Contracts (ASC), as the £150m-£200m Area 8 contract is forced into a negotiated tender process due to ‘irregularities’ in company bids. Somerset CC launches £200k flood grant Somerset CC has launched a £200,000 grant fund to support residents and local councils boost flood defences. East Sussex causes outrage with Bexhill-Hastings green transport cuts Campaigners have called on the Government to withhold funding for the controversial £100m Bexhill-Hastings Link Road after East Sussex CC cuts back on walking, cycling and public transport measures originally included in the project. First section of managed motorway operational The first section of managed motorway in the North of England is now fully operational along a stretch of the M62 in West Yorkshire. Update: Government unveils its first route-based strategies The Highways Agency has today published three route-based transport strategies as the first step in a major shake-up of service delivery on the nation's strategic highways network. Friday Thought: The only thing worse than being talked about… One of the more subtle powers held by the Highways Agency is responsibility for motorway tourism signage, as the case of the small community of Masham proved this week. Government calls for 'traffic courts' Minor traffic offences are to be dealt with in special courts to speed up the justice system and free up more time for investigating serious cases. Invest £30bn in infrastructure projects, report urges A £30bn investment in infrastructure would be the most effective way to boost economic growth, according to a report. Joint venture appointed for £160m A63 scheme A joint venture has been appointed to develop proposals for the £160m upgrade of A63 Castle Street in Hull. UKIP councillors: Use miles not km 'to continue being English' UKIP councillors at East Sussex CC have called on officers to use miles not kilometres in documentation and signage in a bid ‘to continue being English’. Haulage chiefs: New driver tests 'unreasonable' Concern has been raised by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) about recent Department for Transport (DfT) advice on annual statutory tests for garage technicians and mechanics driving HGVs. Wirral puts £40m highways contract out to tender Wirral MBC is re-tendering its highways service contracts this summer, valued at £30-40m. Olympic cycle safety plan should be 'permanent' Efforts to boost cycle safety in London during last summer’s Olympics could be bring wider environmental benefits and protect vulnerable road users if adopted permanently, according to a new report. Friday Thought: How times change This beautiful colour film of London in 1927 takes the viewer through the traffic and streets of a bygone era. Shared space before there was a name for it. Taskforce established to clampdown on 'shoddy roadworks' A new cross-sector taskforce has been set up to tackle the problem of ‘shoddy roadworks’, which have cost the taxpayer half a billion pounds over the past two years. UN road safety week focuses on pedestrians With the second annual UN road safety week (6-12 May) underway, James Evison takes a look at how 20mph road safety policies are progressing in the UK. Centro chief: Nationalise M6 Toll road Increased congestion on the M6 and an inability to deal with a projected 25% rise in traffic means the adjacent toll road should be nationalised, Centro chief executive, Geoff Inskip, has claimed. Cities show cycle ambition Plans for a cycle superhighway linking Bradford with Leeds and Continental-style segregated bike lanes across Manchester featured in bids made to the Government’s cycle city ambition fund. Yorkshire a step away from £1bn transport fund A groundbreaking overhaul of how major local transport schemes are funded in Yorkshire is set to be finalised next week as six councils join forces to boost connectivity throughout the region. Update: Treasury slammed over infrastructure plan The Government’s 'Infrastructure Plan' is nothing more than ‘a list of projects’ with no ‘strategic vision [or] clear priorities’, according to an influential group of MPs. London set for new 'cycle roundabouts' London cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan has claimed a new roundabout layout currently being tested in laboratory conditions could be applied to the capital’s roads within a year, despite not conforming to government regulations. Roadworks website includes major agency alerts Real-time incident and accident alerts from four national agencies has been implemented into the roadworks.org platform for the first time. Potholes now top road safety priority The top road safety priority for local government is improving road surfaces and reducing potholes, according to a new survey. Better deal for young 'top priority', says Baker House of Commons transport questions this week tackled bus and rail fares, south coast rail capacity and pinch-point and highways maintenance funding. May Gurney in the bidding wars Leading infrastructure and highways maintenance firm May Gurney is the subject of a bidding war, with Kier Group launching a ‘knockout’ bid to end the plans of its smaller rival Costain. RAC backs calls for tough emissions targets Leading motorist group, the RAC Foundation, has backed calls for the European Commission (EC) to consider tough CO2 emissions targets for 2025 when the issue is put out to consultation this year. South West united over 'scandalous' transport links Councils in the south west of England are set to lobby government to end the ‘scandalous’ state of the region’s transport links. Mayor unveils 'greener' congestion charge for London A series of changes to London's congestion charge were announced today, as mayor Boris Johnson aims to make the scheme greener. Northern Ireland councils handed roads powers The Northern Ireland executive will devolve responsibility for roads and off-street parking to councils as part of a package of reforms announced by ministers this week. Parking fine debts from foreign cars could be in millions More than £500,000 is owed to just three councils in the south of England in unpaid parking fines issued to foreign-registered vehicles since 2009. HA defends controversial managed motorways policy The Highways Agency has defended its controversial policy to allow traffic to use the hard shoulder on busy stretches of motorway, as it pushes ahead with efforts to reduce congestion on the strategic road network. Government CIL plans could slash local highways funding Local authorities could lose the power to fund highways projects through both the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 278 Highways Act agreements, under proposals unveiled by ministers this week. Welsh council officers use diversion to prove case for by-pass County council officers in south Wales have trialled a traffic diversion around a rural town with poor air quality to prove the case for a by-pass. Halton and Warrington BCs announce £70m contract winner Leading road contractor Lafarge Tarmac has won a major highways contract with Halton and Warrington BC worth up to £70m over a potential 10 years. ATCM: Crowdfunding could be the future of urban parking Parking is intrinsic to a successful town centre and digital technology can revolutionise how it is paid for, according to Guy Douglas of the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM). Traffic sign legislation set for 'radical' overhaul The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to radically overhaul the central legislation governing traffic sign design and use, with a revised version of the law planned for March 2015. Traffex Round up - Day One All the news from day one of Traffex,the 26th international traffic engineering, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), road safety, parking and highway maintenance exhibition. Extra cash not needed to declutter streets, says former TfL chief Additional cash is not required to declutter streets, the former head of design at Transport for London (TfL) has stated. Yorkshire set for £1bn transport overhaul Yorkshire is set for a £1bn plus overhaul of its transport network as six of its councils prepare to vote for a ground-breaking package of new roads, railways and other key infrastructure. Should car manufacturers be responsible for pothole damage, not councils? James Evison takes a look at how far the responsibility for pothole damage to cars should rest with the manufacturers. May Gurney's Norfolk appeal rejected Norfolk CC has rejected May Gurney’s appeal against being dropped from a £350m highways contract the firm has been working on for the last nine years. Strategic road network reliability at 'lowest point' The reliability of journeys on the Highways Agency's strategic road network - motorways and ‘A’ roads - has fallen to its lowest level since the annual measure was introduced in 2010/11. Free HMEP seminar on managing highways drainage assets The Department for Transport’s sector-led Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) has announced it will be holding a complimentary seminar on guidance for the management of highway drainage assets. Questions raised over the Highways Agency's performance monitoring The Highways Agency has promised it is ‘on track’ to meet the tough targets set by the Department for Transport (DfT) for this parliament, despite being unable to release progress figures. New signage to be unveiled at Traffex 2013 The first of a new range of national traffic signs will be launched at this year’s Traffex event at Birmingham NEC on 16 to 18 April. Thatcher's transport legacy Margaret Thatcher left her mark on all aspects of British political life and transport was no exception, James Evison writes. Final stage of Highways Agency's £300m pinch-point programme announced The Highways Agency has unveiled 58 schemes it will deliver as part of the third and final stage of its £317m pinch-point programme – 26 of which have been developed with local authorities. 'Future proofed' transport vital to city growth Cities in the developing world need to future-proof infrastructure, including the usage of transport systems, in order to ensure long-term prosperity according to a new report. EXCLUSIVE: Elderly woman arrested in protest at DfT building An elderly woman has been arrested during two days of protests against the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road outside the Department for Transport (DfT) headquarters in Westminster. Match transport funding to public use, ministers told Funding for individual transport modes should be more reflective of the amount the public use them, leading cycling experts have claimed. Councils 'struggle' with transport in local plans Councils are struggling with the transport aspect of local plans according to the author of a new report revealing councils have been pushed into extra house building under the new system. TRL release new reports Two new reports have been released by TRL which should be of significant interest to Transport Network readers. First tranche of pinch point cash announced Cash for improving congestion at 10 sites across the UK has been announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of its Local Pinch Point Fund. Browne report: 'Worryingly poor' management of major projects Whitehall management of major infrastructure projects, including transport schemes, has been described as ‘worryingly poor’ by a senior government adviser, following the release of a new report focusing on the issue. Cap Aberdeen bypass costs for councils, Scottish government told Scottish local politicians have called on Holyrood to cap the amount councils have to spend on the £653m Aberdeen bypass scheme, for fear it may lead to unfair additional cost burdens. Highways Agency tasked with 20% cost and carbon reductions Ministers have set the Highways Agency a range of challenging performance targets, including making 20% savings on major schemes and carbon emissions by 2015. Embattled Bexhill-Hastings scheme gets £57m from DfT The Department for Transport (DfT) is facing national protests after transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin today approved £57m of government funding for the controversial £90m Bexhill–Hastings Link Road. Osborne's plans for second toll motorway 'unworkable' Chancellor George Osborne is set for conflict with the Welsh Government over plans for the construction of Britain’s second toll motorway to relieve the M4. Devon faces £800m pothole backlog after torrid winter Devon’s unitary authorities have estimated it will take at least £800m to repair the county’s battered road network, following freezing weather and flooding this winter. £2bn plus highways works begin in London Highways work under Transport for London’s (TfL’s) groundbreaking London Highways Alliance Contracts (LoHAC) framework will start this week, potentially delivering schemes worth more than £2bn over the next eight years. Focus on roads to get Britain moving, ministers told Manufacturing chiefs have called on ministers to prioritise roads spending over rail, as they warn transport infrastructure has become a critical issue for the sector. Leeds Council takes transport lead on development plans Leeds City Council will take a lead role in delivering local transport infrastructure to pave the way for major development projects, councillors have revealed. Easter weekend: Traffic round-up Up to 17 million people are expected to take to the roads this Easter weekend, creating congestion on trunk roads and main routes including the M25, M1 and M4. ALARM report: Potholes increase 29% on 2012 Severe weather over the last year has worsened the UK’s pothole backlog by £338m, according to the annual ALARM report. Bexhill-Hastings campaign set for direct action against DfT Campaigners fighting against the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road are set to stage a direct action protest in Westminster. North East transport links ‘just fine’ says LEP chief Chief executive of the North East LEP has claimed transport links in the area are ‘just fine’, and it is right the South East gets 80% of infrastructure spending. Record gritting levels as winter rolls on Record gritting levels have been reported by several county councils in the last week, as a late severe weather spell grips the UK. Local winter service teams on full alert Heavy snow and rain forecasts for the next few days have local authority winter service teams on full alert, council chiefs have announced. Budget 2013: £3bn infrastructure boost An extra £3bn infrastructure spending is due to be released for 2015/16, the chancellor George Osborne has announced. Budget 2013: The transport sector reacts Immediate reaction to the Budget announced today (March 20) centred on the need for economic growth and criticism of the lack of cash for small-scale roads and transport projects. UK's most congested roads revealed Nine out of ten of the nation’s most congested roads are in London, according to new research. Govt rejects claims of flood defence cuts The Government has rejected claims that flood-defence funding has been slashed in half - a move that could leave roads and transport links vulnerable to serious damage following extreme weather. Massive roads investment planned after Hinkley Point green light The Government has given the green light to two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, paving the way for millions of pounds worth of local roads investment. Discount borrowing rate for local infrastructure The Treasury has unveiled a new concessionary lending rate for up to £2.5bn of local infrastructure projects nominated by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Surveyor announces free winter service roadshows Winter service engineers have been given the chance to learn how to deliver a strategy that is more effective and efficient at a series of roadshows organised by Surveyor. Resist cuts and restrict cars, TfL told London risks losing its ‘world class’ transport system without sustained funding and restrictions on car journeys, a major report has warned. New award for tackling street clutter Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has unveiled a new award to celebrate councils’ action on reducing traffic signs, in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT). Pickles hits out at ‘over-zealous’ parking rules Traffic wardens should be more lenient to motorists in a bid to boost local trade, according to communities secretary Eric Pickles. Govt ‘will not scrap’ street works qualifications The Government will not change or amend current street work qualifications following consultation on the issue as part of its Red Tape Challenge. £15m for Loughborough traffic scheme Local transport minister Norman Baker has approved nearly £15m of government funding for congestion relief work in Loughborough town centre that will move traffic onto a new inner relief road. EXCLUSIVE East Sussex: Joint comms crucial for winter service Creating ‘joint communication’ on winter services between various agencies is crucial if local authorities are to learn from issues raised this season, according to a local highways chief. Software upgrades provide 'significant' highways efficiency gains Highways inspectors in Rochdale BC are achieving ‘significant gains’ in efficiency following upgrades to their mobile working software. Council gritting teams hit back at criticism Council gritting teams have hit back at criticism over the state of local highways after a cold snap plunged the south of England under heavy snow from 9 to 11 March. Business united on ‘infrastructure Budget’ Business leaders are united on the need for more road and wider infrastructure investment in advance of chancellor George Osborne’s next Budget on 20 March. Northants seeks support for 10-point growth plan Northamptonshire County Council has called on ministers to support a 10-point growth strategy for the region. Councils free to double pension fund infrastructure investments Councils have been given the freedom to double the share of pension fund assets they can invest in local infrastructure projects from 15% to 30%. LEPs must have 'freedom to operate' says Pickles Communities secretary Eric Pickles has called for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to operate as councils see best, when implementing local transport strategies. Govt sets out UK infrastructure vision The Government has set out its vision for how infrastructure in the UK can be delivered more efficiently. Rainfall slows ‘A’ road transit The Department for Transport has attributed an increase in congestion on local authority ‘A’ roads last year to the heavy rainfall across the country. City Deals second wave to unlock roads investment All 20 areas bidding for the second wave of City Deals have been invited to negotiate new powers with the Government. £35m boost for Essex roads Essex CC has announced a fresh £35m cash injection for highways maintenance and improvements to its local road network over the next two years. Treasury urged to put infrastructure top in Budget The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has called on the Government to use its next Budget on 20 March to speed up delivery of the National Infrastructure Plan.