£7 million rebranding of Highways England to National Highways slammed as ‘bizarre move’

by DailyBriefers
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Highways England are responsible for the Second Severn Crossing. Harshil Shah (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The £7m rebranding of Highways England to National Highways has been slammed as a “bizarre move” by the president of the AA.

Edmund King pointing out that despite the change the company “looks after main roads and motorways in England”.

It’s the second rebrand in six years for the government-owned company, which was previously called the Highways Agency.

“It is not national in the sense that it doesn’t cover the nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” Edmund King told the PA news agency.

“Drivers really don’t care what it is called but they do care about having well-maintained, safe roads and motorways.

“Ironically many people still refer to it as the Highways Agency despite changing its name six years ago.

“When drivers are stuck in jams on pot-holed roads, they don’t care whether the fat controller is from the Highways Agency, Highways England or National Highways, they just want the roads sorted.”

‘Confusing’

The UK Government said that removing ‘England’ the company’s title was due to the fact that it set highway standards for the whole of the UK, although it only operates and maintains roads in England.

The Welsh Government had previously said that the name change would be needlessly confusing for people in Wales.

Welsh Ministers are the highways authority and traffic authority for major roads in Wales.

A Welsh Government source told the Guardian that the rebranding would “unnecessarily confuse people as to where responsibility for roads lies – in Wales, with the Welsh government”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already stated his intention to overrule the Welsh Government on the matter of building the M4 relief road around Newport, a scheme scrapped by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

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