To Consider the update on Transport for the North’s work to develop recommendations for investment in the Strategic Road Network (SRN) and seek comments from the Board on recommendations for the future RIS programme.
Lead: Owen Wilson
6.1 Members received the report of the Head of Major Roads who then highlighted the key point in his report.
6.2 Cllr Swinburn commented that it is important that the road improvement strategy is in place and that it is followed to make sure that everything works.
6.3 Mr Nick Harris explained that the reports referred to by the executive are ready to be published and emphasised that they are focused on outcomes. He commented that whilst in some case it is a road solution, in others it maybe a mixture of solutions is required. He reflected that whilst there is a lot of focus on the big schemes there are many small projects that arguably matter more locally and regionally. He told the Board that once the reports are published he will be happy to return to Board to discuss them further.
6.4 Cllr Duncan requested clarity on the Secretary of State’s statement on 9 March. He said that his understanding of what he said is that all RIS 3 projects have now slipped into RIS 4 which represents a significant delay. He wished to raise awareness and push the case on this and express concern about further delay on some key schemes across the country.
6.5 Mayor Driscoll explained his concerns about a number of schemes that have come forward in recent years as their design is locking in a certain way of transport for the future. He provided the example of roundabouts where there are no bus priority measures. and highlighted the importance of improving public transport infrastructure. He added that work needs to be “future proof” schemes being taken forward and highlighted the importance of local areas have final sign off on any planned works as this will engage businesses and communities in a way which National Highways cannot.
6.6 Mayor Rotheram stated the need to do something with transport infrastructure to address road congestion. He added that something needs to be done about the cost of putting freight onto rail and suggested that Government intervention is needed on this matter.
6.7 Cllr Gittins suggested that innovations on ways to improve the network should also be included.
6.8 In response to Members the Head of Major Roads informed the Board that a piece of work on the Strategic Road Network in Urban areas framework has been done but not yet published and TfN will be supporting this work. He explained that clarity on funding is being sought.
1) That Board endorses Transport for the North’s approach to preparing recommendations for RIS as set out in the report.
2) That Board notes comments from the Scrutiny committee, reflected in the report.
3) That responsibility be delegated to the Board Chair and Vice Chair for approving Transport for the North’s response to public consultation on the National Highways SRN Initial Report, Route Strategy reports and ‘Connecting the Country’ vision.
4) That responsibility be delegated to the Board Chair and Vice Chair for approving Transport for the North’s ... view the full minutes text for item 6
To consider the approach to developing TfN’s recommendations for investment in the Strategic Road Network.
Lead: Owen Wilson
6.1 Members received the report from the Head of Major Roads who highlighted the key points.
6.2 Cllr Cooper asked about the network drivers and enquired if they are robust enough to help with the long term rebalancing of the North.
6.3 Cllr Salter commented that the report comes across as “anti-car”. He highlighted the fact that decarbonisation has always been a key focus for Members and for the organisation and suggested that this should be done by having hydrogen and electric vehicles rather than reducing the number of cars on the road.
6.4 Cllr Jones requested an update on North West quadrant project study which is aimed at alleviating congestion on the M60 Junctions 8-18.
Cllr Davison expressed his concern about the lack of electric
vehicle chargers and infrastructure.
6.6 In response to the Committee’s comments the Head of Major Roads explained that this work provides an initial view as on there is the greatest need for interventions on the Strategic Road Network, also that conversations on the priorities for investment were ongoing with local authority officers. And explained that this work does not focus on specific solutions at each location, which would need to be developed in partnership with local stakeholders and which should deliver Place based outcomes appropriate to the location.
In response to Cllr Cooper’s question on network drivers and specifically the connectivity metric he explained that it is important to consider the relative importance of roads both in terms of traffic flow and the level of service in terms of connectivity, the latter being a particular issue for more remote areas often particularly reliant on road connectivity to access goods and services. a
Addressing Cllr Salter’s comments on being viewed as anti-car he explained that TfN is carefully considering how to communicate messaging on roads. This needs to reflect the ambitions set out in the emerging Strategic Transport Plan and find the right balance in highlighting the importance of road investment to underpin good transport connectivity, whilst promoting the benefits of supporting modes other than the car as the first choice, wherever practicable.
He explained that electric vehicles need to be part of the solution and stated that Transport for the North has undertaken significant work with partners and local authority officers on evidencing the requirement for electric vehicle charging.
With regards to the Manchester North West Quadrant he stated TfN and TfGM have been updated on National Highways work exploring a package of potential interventions for consideration, and potential delivery in the RIS3 or RIS4 periods. ( e.g. junction improvements, additional capacity on sections of the M60).
6.7 In summarising the Chair highlighted the importance of messaging on this issue. He informed the Committee that just under 2,000 people a year die on roads as a result of physical accident whilst 10,000 die from emissions attributed to road traffic. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of a good road network for those in more rural areas that are not as well connected.