The Government is to invest more than £30 billion in transport projects over the next four years as it focuses on investing in Britain’s economic infrastructure.
Exactly where the cash will be spent – more than was invested in the past four years – will be outlined in detail by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond next week.
However, in the much-anticipated Government Spending Review covering the four financial years to the end of 2014/15, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne revealed that spending on roads would include:
• £90 million on expanding the capacity of the M62 in Yorkshire and Humberside and hard shoulder running and variable speed limits between junctions 25 and 30 will be introduced
• Improvements to the M1 – including hard shoulder running and variable speed limits between junctions 10 and 13 and 28 and 31 – and to the A46 in the East Midlands
• Improvements to the M4 and M5 in the South West including hard shoulder running and variable speed limits north of Bristol
• The A11 between the M11 and Norwich will being upgraded to a continuous dual carriageway
• Around London the M25 being widened between ten different junctions
He also signalled the Government’s intention to encourage the private sector to become increasingly involved in road transport provision when he said in his speech: “We will encourage new providers in road management.”
The Government Spending Review also confirmed the availability from January next year of grants of up to £5,000 to help businesses and private motorists purchase electric vehicles.
The previous Labour administration had initially announced the grants, which were then reconfirmed by the coalition Government in the June Budget.
Now, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has reiterated that the grants will be one strand of a multi-faceted approach to the transformation of Britain into a low carbon economy.
The grants will be accompanied by the roll out of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Initially grants worth £43 million will be made available to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles by fleets and private motorists.
The grants will reduce the up-front cost of eligible vehicles by up to 25%, capped at £5,000. Funding has been agreed to March 31, 2012.
The Government says it will review grant funding in January 2012 when it will set the levels of subsidy for 2012/13 and beyond.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: “This Government inherited a financial crisis because we were spending more money than the country could afford. That has meant that we have had to look again at every pound that we spend to ensure we get value for money.
“Whilst we have had to make some difficult choices, I am confident that our focus on the long term will ensure that we can continue to build a transport system that supports economic growth and reduces carbon.
“We have secured investment to allow us to go ahead with important projects such as high speed rail, support for ultra-low carbon cars and major road building and public transport programmes.