National Highways launches new asset management strategy

National Highways has launched an updated asset management policy designed to create a 'single approach' for England's roads operator and its supply chain.

'By promoting collaboration and consistent ways of working and as one company along with our supply chain, we will deliver our priorities... We will establish mechanisms to review and improve our asset management performance, and actively share what we’re doing with our stakeholders, customers and colleagues,' National Highways said.

The new document replaces the strategy published in 2020 and affirms the government-owned company's commitment to whole-life costing and net zero.

It said that this approach will aim to minimise the impact to the service caused by larger programmes of works that may result from assets that have deteriorated beyond their service lives - 'a key lesson learnt from closure of the A52 Clifton Bridge in 2020/21'.

In 2020 corrosion was discovered on the A52 Clifton Bridge in Nottingham

The overall strategy is also supported by National Highway's asset management catalogue, which will be embedded into the operator's work over this road investment period (2020-2025).

This suite of key documents, including policy and approach, gives more detail on the standardised approach National Highways will adopt from strategic commitments to delivery.

Among the key commitments in the new strategy, National Highways highlighted:

  • developing consistent guidance for whole life decision making across all asset classes, which will be implemented across the business
  • developing lifecycle plans aligned to our asset classes that describe our lowest whole life cost requirements
  • providing guidance on adopting preventative maintenance where funding allows
  • defining a clear case for RIS3 investment for Operations, Maintenance and Renewals (OMR)
  • developing guidance for a risk based approach to prioritising routine and cyclical maintenance activities based on their impact to delivering a safe, serviceable and sustainable service to our customers
  • implementing the actions in our asset class strategies to support our net zero ambition.
  • supporting the business to incorporate carbon in our approach to whole life cost decision making
  • building a detailed benchmark of our asset management capability against the requirements of ISO 55001 Asset Management – Overview, principles and terminology.

National Highways chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said: 'We make decisions that consider the impact on the environment whilst ensuring the country’s economy is supported by a safe and sustainable road network, now and in the future.

'Our strategy is focussed on delivering better asset management decisions that will improve customer service, consider environmental sustainability and effectively manage the risks on for its roads that keep our customers safe.'

The company is responsible for designing, maintaining and operating motorways and major A-roads in England, known as the strategic road network, which are valued as an asset at around £128bn. This includes 4,300 miles of road; more than 20,000 structures; and 120,000 lights.

The updated strategy can be viewed on the National Highways website.

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