Through the Road Investment Strategy (RIS), Highways England is investing £675 million to improve the environmental, social and economic impacts of the Strategic Road Network, with designated funds across five areas: environmental; cycling, safety and integration; air quality; growth and housing; and innovation.
In April 2017 Highways England published its Sustainable Development and Environment Strategies, setting out its vision for ensuring its work supports society and the wider national interest, as well as both minimising environmental impact, and improving it where possible.
Some examples of activity in 2018-19 include the delivery of 300 noise mitigation measures towards its 5-year target of 1150, 59 more electric vehicle charge points to meet its commitment of 95% coverage by the end of 2019-20, and a contribution to Leeds City Council’s scheme to implement an electric van centre of excellence.
Over the course of the RIS, Highways England is also supporting 28 schemes as part of its Growth and Housing Fund to unlock the development of housing and employment sites across the country. Highways England expect over 45,000 homes and 44,000 jobs to be developed over the lifetime of these developments.
Highways England continues to work closely with the Department for Transport, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Joint Air Quality Unit to support the delivery of the National Air Quality Plan, including work to meet limits on nitrogen dioxide in the shortest timescale possible.
As a statutory planning consultee, Highways England responds to local authority plans and planning applications in a way that seeks to promote sustainable transport outcomes and avoid unnecessary works to the SRN. Highways England’s Planning Guide, published earlier in the RIS, sets out how it does this, alongside its requirement to ensure that any new development can safely be accommodated around its network. Highways England regularly engages with those in the development industry to ensure its responses and approach to planning are in line with its expectations as well as those of its customers, including how it enables development through delivery of sustainable transport outcomes.