This is our annual assessment of Highways England's performance and delivery of the second road investment strategy, covering the first year of the second road period, from April 2020 to March 2021.
Highways England is the government-owned company responsible for England's strategic road network.
Laid in Parliament on 15 July 2021, our assessment of Highways England's 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 are also publishing all 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 Highways England) 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.