Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Funding concerns for Lower Thames Crossing and Stonehenge tunnel

A303 stonehenge

Funding concerns for the £1.6bn Stonehenge tunnel and £6bn Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) have been raised by MPs due to the government’s “lack of a clear plan” for what will replace the scrapped PF2 funding model.

The concerns were raised in a Public Accounts Committee rail management and timetabling report which has been released this week.

The two mega projects were set to be partly funded using the private financing PF2 model. However, the model was scrapped by chancellor Philip Hammond in last year’s autumn Budget.

As the projects were due to be privately funded, they were left out of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) £25.3bn draft Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2 – which runs from 2020 to 2025), published only a day after the PF2 deals were scrapped.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer just after the announcement of the axing of the PF2 deals in November last year, Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan confirmed that both schemes would now be publicly funded.

However, the committee said that, although the final RIS2 and budget was not due to be published until the end of this year, the DfT had now confirmed that the two schemes would not be included in it.

“The department [DfT] confirmed that it remained fully committed to these ‘vital projects’, but that the Stonehenge tunnel and LTC ‘sit outside’ the funding earmarked for the second Road Investment Strategy,” said the committee.

“The department told us that it understood that Treasury supported its broad spending plans for the second strategy period and the department’s aim to continue with the Stonehenge tunnel and LTC.”

On this basis, the committee said that the DfT believed the Treasury would provide funding for the project to replace the lost funding through PF2.

But the committee said it was “not convinced” by the assurances given.

“We are not convinced by assurances that the department and Treasury are fully committed to these projects without more detail on the alternative funding models that are being developed,” it said.

The committee is now urging the government to outline the range of financing structures available to fund the two schemes within three months and the impact they will have on the £25.3bn (RIS2) budget.

While O’Sullivan said in November that alternatives to the private financing model were unlikely to in place in time to be used on the two schemes, “it would be good for the market if we have some sort of decision by January”.

No FP2 replacement scheme has yet been announced by the government.

Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Philip Alexander

    Well I never. Another reason to kick the Stonehenge bypass into the long grass. Just like they did in 2004 even after being given the go ahead by a Public Inquiry. So 15 years later, after dithering on an epic scale we are no further on and the greenies can be happy for another 15 years during which the huge numbers of visitors will continue to suffer the noise and visual intrusion from a congested A303. Is that a success? Just put it in a cutting at a fraction of the £1.6 billion for a ridiculously long tunnel and it could be open in 3 years. Just imagine all the wonderful archaeological finds they would uncover which could be put into the visitor centre making it even more attractive to visitors.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.