Study by Arup and RAC shows volume of scheme sat awaiting funding

Road schemes worth £12.8bn that are ready to be built and will deliver a huge payback to the Treasury are sitting on the shelf because of lack of funding.

An analysis by Arup, conducted on behalf of the RAC Foundation, found that 96 road schemes with a high cost/benefit ratio agreed by officials are simply waiting for government cash to proceed.

The Highways Agency, which would normally fund the bulk of the schemes, has just £2.3bn to spend over the next four years, rather than the £12.8bn needed. All of the schemes have been assessed as returning more than £5 of benefit for every pound spent, with the top ten scheme providing a six-fold return to the Treasury. Top ten schemes include the £117m dualling of the A21 at Tonbridge and the £146m A5-M1 link around Dunstable.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the research should concern government. “With ministers talking up the need for infrastructure investment they should turn their attention to the offices of the Department for Transport where there are scores of schemes which deserve to be built,” he said.

“Congestion is set to increase dramatically in the coming years and these projects could make real differences to the lives of individuals and the economic needs of the country.”

Alexander Jan, Transaction Director with Arup said: “There is a real opportunity for central Government to look closely at what has worked internationally in getting essential infrastructure funded and delivered. Part of that solution needs to be about giving local and regional government the opportunity to help get important infrastructure funded from abroad.”