Annual assessment of National Highways


This content and related publications refer to our annual assessment of National Highways (formerly Highways England).

National Highways (formerly Highways England) is the government-owned company responsible for England's strategic road network and main ‘A’ roads.

Every year we publish an annual assessment setting out how National Highways has performed over the previous year. At the end of each road period we publish a report looking back at the past five years. 

We published our most recent assessment on 15 July 2021 alongside a number of complementary reports.

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Laid in Parliament on 15 July 2021, our assessment of Highways England's (now known as National Highways) performance for 2020-21 found that:

  • Highways England worked hard to support the movement of goods and people during the first year of the second road period, whilst dealing with the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the transition period for the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 December 2020. The company successfully put in place measures to meet the needs of road users and reacted quickly when conditions changed at short notice.
  • Highways England maintained a strong focus on delivering safety improvements to the strategic road network. But we agree with the company that there remains more work to do.
  • Highways England delivered its 2020-21 requirements in the safety-focused Smart Motorway Action Plan. Delivering the remaining tasks will be challenging. We will continue to monitor this closely.
  • Highways England delivered its commitments on enhancement schemes and the majority of its renewals commitments in 2020-21. However, there are significant risks, including underspends, to the successful delivery of the remaining RIS2 commitments in full, with potential knock-on impacts for road users. Highways England must urgently consider how these risks should be mitigated.

Alongside the annual assessment we have also published reports from reviews undertaken by consultants on our behalf in 2020-21. With these reports, recommendations are made by the consultant for us (and/or National Highways) to consider. For each report, we will review the recommendations and decide whether to take them forward or not and what form that will take.

Below you can find that assessment and older assessments and associated reports going back to 2015-16 (our first assessment). 

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Previous assessments are listed below. For earlier publications visit the National Archives.