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Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what circumstances control of an A road would be moved from the local authority to the Highways Agency. (213961)

The roads managed by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State are of strategic importance, either nationally or regionally, and carry large volumes of long distance traffic.

The composition of the strategic road network was reviewed as part of the Government's Transport White Paper “A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone”, published in 1998. The factors taken into account in identifying this network are set out in the White Paper and in the accompanying document, "A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England".

If the Secretary of State for Transport were to judge that the function of a local authority road had changed such that it now met the factors established in that White Paper, or if a road formed a better alternative to an existing trunk road, the road could be transferred to the strategic road network and managed by the Highways Agency.

The only other circumstances in which that can occur is during the delivery of major improvement schemes to the strategic road network, when very short sections (a few hundred metres or less) of local authority controlled roads can be transferred to the Highways Agency as part of the realignment of roads and reconfiguration of junctions required by the scheme.