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£7 million rebranding of Highways England to National Highways slammed as ‘bizarre move’

21 Aug 2021 2 minutes Read
Highways England are responsible for the Second Severn Crossing. Harshil Shah (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The £7m rebranding of Highways England to National Highways has been slammed as a “bizarre move” by the president of the AA.

Edmund King pointing out that despite the change the company “looks after main roads and motorways in England”.

It’s the second rebrand in six years for the government-owned company, which was previously called the Highways Agency.

“It is not national in the sense that it doesn’t cover the nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” Edmund King told the PA news agency.

“Drivers really don’t care what it is called but they do care about having well-maintained, safe roads and motorways.

“Ironically many people still refer to it as the Highways Agency despite changing its name six years ago.

“When drivers are stuck in jams on pot-holed roads, they don’t care whether the fat controller is from the Highways Agency, Highways England or National Highways, they just want the roads sorted.”

‘Confusing’

The UK Government said that removing ‘England’ the company’s title was due to the fact that it set highway standards for the whole of the UK, although it only operates and maintains roads in England.

The Welsh Government had previously said that the name change would be needlessly confusing for people in Wales.

Welsh Ministers are the highways authority and traffic authority for major roads in Wales.

A Welsh Government source told the Guardian that the rebranding would “unnecessarily confuse people as to where responsibility for roads lies – in Wales, with the Welsh government”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already stated his intention to overrule the Welsh Government on the matter of building the M4 relief road around Newport, a scheme scrapped by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Johnson – I dare you ! Come rip up the Gwent Levels, show your Westminster ignorance of devolution and face the consequences – Welsh independence. I suspect even the most ardent of Welsh Unionist supporter will be horrified at your colonialist attitude. The less respect you show for our Parliament the quicker we’ll gain our freedom – so being it on.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago

Wouldn’t it be slightly funny if Boris’s next cunning plan is to nationalize the railway companies just so he can call them British Rail again.

Phil Jones
Phil Jones
1 month ago

This bunch of colonialists love name changing and re-branding. Reminds me of the Soviets and Nazis in more ways than one.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

A very crude assertion of the idea that England, conflated with Britain, is the only recognized “nation”. Pathetic.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

Well I suppose it is ‘national’ in that it refers to the nation of England. If they wanted it to refer to the so-called ‘union’ they would have to call it the United Kingdom Highways Agency. However, I take your point that many English people can’t tell the difference between England and the United Kingdom.

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
1 month ago

Highways but Low lights.

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
1 month ago

I note this sentence in the article: “The Welsh Government had previously said that the name change would be needlessly confusing for people in Wales”. Whilst I am relieved that such a thing as a Welsh Government has even existed since 1999. It is hypocritical of the Labour Welsh Government to claim that the change of name by the UK Government (the de facto government of England) of ‘Highways England’ to ‘National Highways’ will cause confusion, when it was they themselves that rebranded the ‘National Museum of Wales’ as ‘National Museum Wales. Fortunately, the very nature of Welsh language grammar meant that… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Crwtyn Cemais

Yes the colonial branch of Labour is just as bad….. Remember that the Nandy woman wants to use “Spanish methods” on patriots.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

As long as the English taxpayer wastes money on it that’s fine. We should get some Barnett formula cash.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

7 million quid of tax payers hard earned down the drain…

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

If it’s only England then why can’t it call itself “National Highways”? England is a nation after all.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Because it also sets highway standards for the other nations. So it’s state-wide, not national. If it was England-only as regards standards, then yes, it would make perfect sense.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wrexhamian
Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

But then surely “Highways England” is an equally bad name if they have a say on non-English highway standards?

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

I heard Johnson had been rebranded “d******d”.

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
1 month ago

Makes sense. It’s an agency for the nation of England. So call it National Highways. And In Cymru we’ll call our roads agency Ffyrdd Cymru or Ffyrdd Cenedlaethol. No confusion.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

The whole debate about the use of the words “national” and “nation” in the UK, while perhaps seemingly trivial to a unionist, is actually of great importance. Their misuse, throughout the 20th Century, to apply to UK events, institutions, policies, peoples, etc. went unchallenged, certainly until devolution; until then, the “nation” was preseted by the London government and media as denoting the peoples of the four member countries of the UK, with no distinction. That notion is now considered by many outside England as being no longer appropriate, and yet here’s Boris still pushing the “British nation” approach. Likewise that… Read more »

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