Regulator reports South West notifies two-thirds of road work closures correctly

(Last Updated On: February 8, 2022)

The Office of Rail and Road, independent monitor of National Highways, has today (8 February) published its Benchmarking National Highways report outlining the regional differences in performance across National Highways’ motorways and major A roads in England.

As a result of ORR driving the need for greater transparency and data to be published, National Highways has increased the number of performance indicators the company makes public at a regional level from just five in 2019-20 to 22 in 2020-21.

This new data is published in ORR’s benchmarking report.

In one of the indicators reported for the first time, ORR saw significant differences across England in the accuracy and timeliness in the notification of overnight road closures.

National Highways is tasked with ensuring that, nationally, 90% of overnight road closures are published accurately, seven days in advance, by 2024-25. As reported in ORR’s Annual Assessment of National Highways, the company achieved 55% of all closures notified correctly in 2020-21.

ORR found across the South West, 64% of road closures are accurately notified.

This compares to 55% nationally and the best performing region in the Midlands (66%). The South East is the worst-performing region, with under half (42%) of road closures accurately notified.

ORR reports that despite the company improving how it informs road users about closures, National Highways will still need to make substantial progress on road closure notification during Road Period 2 (2020-2025) to meet its 90% target, with all regions currently performing well below the national-level 2024-25 target.

ORR also found the South West exceeded the national target of 86% for clearing incidents, with 90% cleared within less than one hour.

The South West also exceeded the target of 95% of road surfaces not requiring further investigation (96%).

ORR also reports 31 sections of the strategic road network were above the legal air quality levels across the country in 2020-21, varying significantly by region. There were 11 in the Midlands, none in the East of England, and three in the South West.

ORR expects National Highways to make progress across England in reducing the impact of the strategic road network on the environment and ORR will continue to monitor progress against these indicators during the remainder of Road Period 2 (2020-2025).

Sneha Patel, Deputy Director of Highways at ORR said:

“Our annual benchmarking report this year has led to greater transparency around National Highways’ performance and will incentivise its regions to improve further.

“We’ve now got a four-fold increase in the number of performance indicators that National Highways must report on: that’s a considerable step forward.

“However, there continue to be significant regional differences and we expect National Highways to apply the lessons it has learned about what works well in one region to other parts of the country as part of the steps it will take to meet all national-level targets by 2024‑25.”

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