Press release: Highways England signs deal to help improve motorway journeys

With research showing road surface quality continues to be an area of concern with drivers, Highways England is committed to improving journeys. The company has signed up 11 firms who can be called upon when there is a need to resurface roads. The deal could see the company spend up to £3.3 billion if it was required.

Highways England’s Executive Director of Operations Nick Harris said:

We know that drivers want and deserve good quality, safe roads which is why since 2015 when Highways England was created we have replaced more than 4,400 miles of road surface.

This new arrangement will help us tackle uneven road surfaces faster, in a more cost effective and efficient way – keeping journeys safer and offering smoother journeys for the millions of drivers who use our roads every day.

It means that, over the next 4 years, Highways England can award contracts to address poor road surfaces across England’s motorway and major A roads without having to go through lengthy bidding processes to get the work done.

The framework arrangement also enables local authorities to utilise the services of the contractors, facilitating greater collaboration.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Link: Press release: Highways England signs deal to help improve motorway journeys
Source: Gov Press Releases

Press release: More than 44,000 responses to future farming consultation

In the last week alone, nearly 20,000 responses were submitted to the ‘Health & Harmony’ consultation which closed on Tuesday 8 May, with farmers, food producers and environmentalists sharing their views on everything from the support we give to farmers and food producers to the broader direction of policy post-Brexit when it comes to the natural world.

Throughout the 10 week consultation, Defra hosted 17 events across the country alongside groups including the National Trust, NFU and the Eden Project, to hear first-hand from more than 1,250 representatives of the UK’s food and farming sectors.

The Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

It’s great news that so many people have responded so enthusiastically to our consultation. Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to improve the support we give to Britain’s farmers. We can make farming more productive, improve the quality of the food we eat and enhance our natural environment. We’ll reflect on the many thoughtful ideas put forward in response to our consultation and bring forward our plans for legislation later this year.

The consultation included proposals to redirect payments under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) which are based on the amount of land farmed, to a new system of paying farmers public money for public goods, principally their work to enhance the environment. It highlighted a number of public goods which could be supported such as biodiversity, high animal welfare standards and improved soil health.

A recent WWF poll, undertaken by Populus, found that 91 per cent of the UK public want to see farmers paid to protect nature.

Responses to the consultation will now be analysed carefully and the Government will publish a response shortly.

Link: Press release: More than 44,000 responses to future farming consultation
Source: Gov Press Releases

Press release: UK welcomes Syrian Negotiation Commission

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, met with the head of the Syrian Negotiation Commission, Dr Nasr al-Hariri, today to discuss Syria’s future, and the UK’s role in helping to secure a stable, peaceful future for its people.

The Foreign Secretary said:

This visit was a significant opportunity for the UK to discuss with the Syrian opposition our shared efforts to bring this appalling human catastrophe to an end, and stop the suffering that the Syrian people have endured for over seven years.

The regime’s continuation of its brutal offensives, including its use of chemical weapons, and its refusal to engage in negotiations have underlined the challenge of reaching a political settlement. But we remain clear that only a political solution will create a stable, brighter future for the Syrian people. Nasr al-Hariri and the Syrian opposition have again expressed their willingness to engage in direct negotiations with the Syrian regime and Russia without preconditions.

The UK remains at the forefront of the humanitarian response: at the recent Brussels Conference we pledged to provide at least £450 million this year, and £300 million next year, taking the total UK humanitarian funding to £2.71 billion since 2011. This assistance will help to alleviate the extreme suffering in Syria and provide vital support in neighbouring countries.

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Link: Press release: UK welcomes Syrian Negotiation Commission
Source: Gov Press Releases