Since 2015 Highways England has been doing more in dedicated sectors right across the country thanks to Designated Funds. These are five ring-fenced budgets that are driving us to do more than the essentials, delivering better schemes that serve the whole community and not just road users.
The five funds target areas from air quality to water quality, cycling to buses, to innovative ideas using new techniques, materials and suppliers. We are aiming to make a real difference to people’s lives with these funds by making our network blend into the environment better, by making it safer to cross – for people and wildlife – and by protecting neighbours from noise and pollution.
We have made a good start, delivering improvements such as major flood protection at Catterick, noise barriers and home insulations across the country. We have unlocked five sites for home and job creation. We have improved cycle routes like the upgrade to Birchanger cycle path at Stansted, which now provides direct, safe access to and from the airport, college and local areas.
Our plans don’t stop there – we are more ambitious still. We want to develop more integrated cycle networks and bus facilities that support and encourage modal choice. We want to provide better wildlife habitat creation and catchment flood protection measures.
We want to innovate in what we do, how we do it and who we do it with. In short, we want to use designated funds to get better at the essentials and make the novel normal.
If you are interested in helping us realise our ambition, come and speak to us at Highways UK where we are holding a drop-in clinic on both days. Members of our team will be available to hear your ideas and suggestions for designated funds. We can provide a first review of any proposals you have, help discuss your next steps and answer any questions you have. You can find details of our funds and criteria for funding at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/designated-funds
Vinita Hills is Highways England’s Designated Funds Director. Vinita will be presenting some of work Highways England has achieved through Designated Funds at the Highways England Theatre on 7 November at 12pm.
Vinita Hill – Designated Funds Director, Highways England