Longer-term road strategy needed, says Logistics UK

Friday 14 July 2023

Government must adopt a longer-term view to create an effective national freight network, while ensuring short-term investment improves the state of existing infrastructure, according to Logistics UK. Responding to the government's consultation on ‘Shaping the future of England’s strategic roads’ ahead of the third Road Investment Strategy (RIS3), the business group's Head of Cities and Infrastructure Policy, Jonathan Walker said: 


“Logistics UK welcomes the emphasis National Highways placed on growing the economy in its initial report ahead of the RIS3 process however, the logistics industry needs a reliable, resilient Strategic Road Network (SRN) to operate efficiently and support this growth. As part of this, a much longer-term view on infrastructure is needed. The challenges our economy faces, such as decarbonisation and the need to ‘level up’ and spread prosperity more widely across the country, will not be fully solved in the next five-year investment period (RIS3). A clear vision of the future infrastructure needs for the economy should be the foundation upon which these shorter-term plans are built. 


“In the short-term, RIS3 must represent a step forward in the safety, condition, and reliability of the SRN. RIS3 will still represent a substantial investment in England’s road network and must therefore deliver significant benefits to road users. Logistics UK was broadly supportive of RIS2 and felt it went a long way towards addressing infrastructure needs however, we are concerned that many of the RIS2 schemes such as the Lower Thames Crossing have not progressed as planned. These need to be delivered swiftly to improve the flow of goods across the country and to our key ports.  


“Road freight is an essential enabler of all business activity; in 2020, it accounted for 89% of all freight traffic. Improved transport infrastructure is an urgent priority both nationally and locally, to enhance capacity, reduce unreliability and prepare the network to support decarbonisation and innovation.” 


Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.