Highways Magazine:

Ministers have shelved the publication of the draft Road Investment Strategy 2025-30 (RIS 3) and postponed the planning decision for the £10bn Lower Thames Crossing (LTC), following last week’s announcement of a general election in July.

Highways understands that the draft RIS was due to have been published already, ahead of a stakeholder briefing on Tuesday morning.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) contacted participants last week to tell them that the event had been postponed because the election meant the document could not be published beforehand.

Participants were told that plans are still in place to deliver a final RIS in 2024, but with details subject to the views of incoming ministers.

Speaking at Traffex last week, Labour’s shadow roads minister, Bill Esterson, told Highways: ‘We will only make commitments to spend money where we can identify where the money is going to come from.’

On Friday (24 May), transport secretary Mark Harper issued a Written Ministerial Statement setting a new deadline of 4 October for determination of National Highways’ application for a development consent order (DCO) for the LTC.

The DfT said this will allow appropriate time for any new transport secretary to consider the application, adding that it will nevertheless endeavour to issue the decision ahead of the new deadline.

The DCO was due to be determined on 20 June 2024, which is during the pre-election period.

Transport Action Network (TAN) which has campaigned against the RIS welcomed the delay.

Director Chris Todd said: ‘With finances as tight as they are, a review of all road schemes is long overdue. This extension will allow a new Government time to consider its options. However, our firm belief is that it should seize the opportunity to scrap the Lower Thames Crossing once and for all.’

Mr Harper also delayed DCO decisions on the proposed development by Associated British Ports of a new roll on-roll off ferry terminal at the Port of Immingham and the construction of a new passenger terminal and aircraft stands at London Luton Airport.


This has also been reported in Construction News.


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