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Highways England reveals Robin Hood-style roads funding

Night roadworks

Highways England is taking cash from slow-running roads projects to feed schemes that are getting through their programmes ahead of time, its chief executive has said.

Jim O’Sullivan told delegates at New Civil Engineer’s UK Transport conference in London today that the system benefitted everyone. It is a Robin Hood style strategy in the sense that it takes from a project that has available money, and transfers it to one needing money, just as in folklore Hood took from the rich to give to the poor.

He said the client body was learning from the aviation and rail sectors as it manages its £15bn Roads Investment Strategy (RIS1).

“We have three imperatives - safety, customer service and delivery,” he said.

“On safety we are taking a lot of what we’re learning from the aviation sector, in terms of asset management, asset understanding.

“On customer service it’s both rail and airlines.

“Delivery is from rail and other infrastructure companies. Where we have a scheme that’s running ahead and cash hungry, we move the money from a scheme that’s running more slowly.

“The fast running project gets finished early to everybody’s benefit and we can take cash from there to the project that’s more slow running.

“We look at it as a portfolio in the round.”

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