Original Article by Highways Magazine, to view please click here
The Government is considering spending an estimated £7m to rebrand Highways England as ‘National Highways’, the Guardian has reported.
The change of name comes just five years after the government-owned company was established from the previous Highways Agency, and shortly after its budget had been increased to £27bn for 2020-2025.
According to the Guardian, the plans came from the Department for Transport (DfT) and were being ‘forced’ on Highways England.
Highways England directed all questions to the DfT, while the DfT was unavailable for comment.
The timing of the apparent leak, shortly before the Spending Review in November, suggests there could be some dispute in the department as to whether this is the best way to spend millions of pounds at this time.
Highways England manages the strategic road network in England and the Guardian reported that the suggestion it could be branded as the ‘national’ operator had provoked anger in Wales.
A Welsh government source said it would ‘unnecessarily confuse people as to where responsibility for roads lies – in Wales, with the Welsh government’.
Plaid Cymru calling the new name ‘self-aggrandising and offensive’, while Labour suggested it was a bizarre move.
Matt Rodda, Labour’s shadow roads minister, said: ‘At a time of national crisis, going through a national rebranding five years after the last one will be perplexing and seem a potential waste of taxpayer money to most people. The Government need to justify why they are doing this and how they came to the decision on the new name.’
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