A study into easing congestion on Britain’s roads through private invesment in the national network is to be undertaken by the Department for Transport and Treasury. The announcement was made by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said innovative approaches to the funding of our national roads was needed. 

"Road tolling is one option," he said. "But we are only considering this for new, not existing, capacity. For example, we’re looking at how improvements to the A14 could be part-funded from polling, but we now need to be more ambitious.

"We should be asking ourselves why is it that other infrastructures, for example, water, is funded by private sector capital, from privately owned independently regulated utilities, but roads in Britain still call on the public finances for funding."

Cameron said there was a need to look urgently at the options for getting large-scale private investment into the national roads network from sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and other investors. That is why he has asked DfT and the Treasury to carry out a feasibility study of new ownership and financing models for the national road system. They are due to report progress in the autumn.

"Let me be clear, this is not about mass tolling," he said. We’re not tolling existing roads. It’s about getting more out of the money that motorists already pay."