Examination of Witnesses (Questions 520
WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2002
520. And what sort of proportion would that
be in terms of the 25 per cent?
(Mr Matthews) The 25 per cent equates over the ten-year
period to something like £2.6 billion.
521. Remind of me of the Birmingham figure.
(Mr Matthews) £400 to £500 million is our
522. So we are talking about a quarter of the
total coming from one scheme?
(Mr Matthews) Which is a very large scheme.
523. A very large scheme. How do you intend
over the period of ten years (because there will be targets in
that ten years) to fund the new major schemes that will be initiated
during the ten-year period when your target of 25 per cent in
the private sector is unlikely to be achieved until 2010?
(Mr Matthews) I think we are clear that, firstly,
the 25 per cent is not a fixed target.
524. That is what you described it as.
(Mr Matthews) It is what we are working towards. We
will look at each of the schemes as they come forward for ministerial
decision as to whether they fit criteria for private finance.
525. Now that we know it is only a tentative
target, it is an aspiration, supposing it does not develop, supposing
you do not get this, where will the money come from, where will
that £2.5 billion come from?
(Mr Matthews) Our assumption is, and our experience
at the moment is that we will have no difficulty securing that
level of private investment in major roads. I think the issue
is which schemes will most fit private investment rather than
whether that private investment will be available.
526. Have you identified any major schemes that
may fit that criteria? Have you done that as yet?
(Mr Matthews) Yes, we have two other major sets of
schemes which we have already identified and made public, one
in Yorkshire on the A1, and a couple of schemes in Kent. Neither
of those is as substantial as the Birmingham scheme. Although
the schemes are at a fairly early stage in some of the Multi-Modal
Studies, our initial look at some of the likely schemes is that
we will have a reasonable flow of schemes that will, we think,
be attractive to private investment.
527. On the same page, Page 21 of your document,
you do say: "Where road improvements are taken forward, we
will ensure that each is carefully assessed using the New Approach
to Appraisal." You are going to say before any investment
decision is taken that this will apply. If all the schemes, as
you have answered to Mr Stevenson, are in the pipeline, how will
that fit in with the programme? Before any investment decision
is taken you will apply the new approach to appraisal. If they
are all the pipeline, they are all being assessed and all being
equated, how will this apply under the schemes?
(Mr York) The new approach will be applied to potential
schemes before Ministers decide whether to add them to the new
Mr O'Brien: It does not say that in this document.
It just says "Where road improvements are taken forward,
we will ensure that each is carefully assessed using the New Approach
to Appraisal". I read that as any scheme that you are involved
in. My question is if we have got 51 schemes or a number of schemes
already committed, how will this apply under the programme you
outlined to us?
528. What Mr O'Brien is politely saying to you
is it looks like you have made one announcement and then you have
already excluded those things that you have worked on.
(Mr York) The existing major schemes in our programme
have been subjected to the new appraisal system.
529. Where can I find the new appraisal in this
document to explain it to me?
(Mr York) It probably is not in that particular document.
Mr O'Brien: When we talk about the "New
Approach to Appraisal", how do we get that information?
530. He will give us a note.
(Mr York) I will give you a note.
531. If you do get this five per cent reduction
on inter-urban roads, what is that going to do in terms of journey
(Mr Matthews) Over the network as a wholeand
that is how the five per cent is measuredit will be a very
532. How small is "very small"?
(Mr Matthews) I am not sure precisely in minutes what
it is but it is in minutes rather than more than that.
(Mr Matthews) But where we are investing in schemes,
both small and large, which are targeted at congestion, then individual
road users will see major benefits.
534. No, now come on Mr Matthews, I am not very
bright but why should they see major advances if you have just
told me that the five per cent overall is only going to be in
minutes? We do not even know how many minutes.
(Mr Matthews) Because the congestion target and the
congestion measure against which that will be based covers the
whole of the network at all and different times of the day.
535. So overall they may only expect to get
five per cent which will translate into one or two minutes, but
somewhere they will get an enormous benefit?
(Mr Matthews) On particular areas of congestion then
there will be very significant benefits.
536. And it will get worse for some places for
your average to come out?
(Mr Matthews) No, because the congestion hot spots,
whether they are around junctions or on particularly congested
parts of the motorway, are only at certain times of the day and
are fairly restricted in their length and that is what we will
be targeting at. So there will be disproportionate benefit, if
you like, at certain parts of the network and that is part of
the appraisal of the schemes we undertake, that they will deliver
significant improvements in flows through particular parts of
537. You do not think your "very small"
might be defined as about half of a second per kilometre, do you?
(Mr Matthews) I do not know.
538. When would you be likely to find out?
(Mr Matthews) I can give you a note on the assumptions
that were made in the Department's model.
ChairmanThat would be extremely helpful. I would
like to know about your assumptions. Miss McIntosh
539. The Government's detrunking programme is
due to start in 2003. What will the implications be for the Ten
Year Plan insofar as trunk roads being taken out of the Government's
programme and placed into local authorities' programmes? Will
the budget be neutral as far as the Ten Year Plan is concerned
and what resources will be handed over to the local authorities
which are responsible from 2003 for these new roads?
(Mr Matthews) The detrunking programme has already
started. There is a financial negotiation and agreement reached
with each of the prospective local authorities before the specific
detrunking is approved and that does involve transfer of the resource
for the on-going maintenance of the particular part of network.
There are also on a number of parts of the non-core network major
schemes that were previously agreed which we have been asked to
undertake before the road is then handed on.