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The minister for roads, Lord Whitty, announced today the publication ...
The minister for roads, Lord Whitty, announced today the publication

of a paper setting out the government's proposals for transferring

parts of the English trunk road network to local highway authorities.

Under the proposals, 40% of the trunk road network would

be detrunked and become the responsibility of local highway


Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Transport conference A New

Trunk Roads Strategy Lord Whitty said:

'Our aim is to get decisions taken at the right level where the main

issues are most clearly understood. We want decisions about non-core

routes to be taken by local highway authorities. The paper we are

publishing today, after consultation with the Local Government

Association, sets out how we intend to meet that objective, firstly

by setting up arrangements for 'virtual detrunking' and later through

actual detrunking under which local highway authorities will take on

full legal responsibility for non-core trunk roads.'

The integrated transport White Paper A New Deal For Transport: Better

for Everyone, launched in July, identified a core network of

nationally important trunk roads. Allowing local highway authorities

to manage the non-core trunk roads which serve mainly local or

regional traffic would enable decisions about them to be taken

locally and would improve integration with local transport and land

use planning.

Lord Whitty acknowledged that if local highway authorities were to

take on full responsibility for non-core routes then they would have

to be given additional financial resources. He said:

'There is to be further consultation with the Local Government

Association on the issue of transfer of financial resources. It is

the government's intention that there should be a fair reallocation

of resources to reflect the maintenance responsibilities which local

highway authorities will assume.'


1. The White Paper A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone

(Cm 3950) identified a 'core' network of trunk roads. This includes

about 60% of the existing all-purpose trunk road network or 70% of

the national road network, including motorways. Under the proposals

set out in the White Paper and amplified in the report on the review

of the trunk road programme A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England,

the non-core trunk roads would be transferred to local highway

authorities (detrunked). The paper 'Roads Review: Implementation of

Detrunking Proposals' has been sent to all English local authorities

and sets out in more detail how the Government intends to take this

process forward. Further copies may be obtained from Mr N Peel,

Roads Policy Division, Zone 3/01, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham

Street, London SW1P 4DR.

2. The first step will be the establishment of arrangements for

'virtual detrunking'. Under virtual detrunking local highway

authorities will consider non-core routes as part of their local road

network and propose any improvements through the new local transport

plans system. The Highways Agency will remain legally responsible

for the routes and fund the costs of maintenance and improvement.

The aim will be to move quickly from virtual detrunking to actual

detrunking whereby full legal and financial responsibility for

non-core routes will be transferred to local highway authorities by

making of statutory detrunking orders under the Highways Act 1980.

3. Implementation of the detrunking proposals will be subject to

full consultation with individual local highway authorities. The aim

is to have arrangements for virtual detrunking in place by the end of

March 1999. Subject to the outcome of consultations it is envisaged

that actual detrunking will be phased over a number of years.

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