Highways England has a new chief executive – Nick Harris.

His appointment coincides with a name change to ‘National Highways’.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the name change wanting it to reflect a new era for strategic roads.

Improving roads

The Government is currently investing £27 billion into the strategic roads investment programme.

Harris will lead the organisation as it delivers the road building programme. Future opportunities for change are likely to come through automation and digitisation as well as delivering the government’s net-zero target.

Highways England chair, Dipesh J Shah, said: “I am delighted to appoint Nick as our CEO. Now, more than ever, our infrastructure schemes have an important and perhaps unique role to play in helping our economy to recover.

Moving forward

Harris joined Highways England in 2016 and has been acting chief executive since February 2021.

Focus will continue with road safety improvements, including those to the controversial Smart Motorways. Another role is to make National Highways a global leader in road building, maintenance and health and safety.

Harris describes it as “an exciting time” to take charge. In particular, delivering “the second roads investment strategy ensuring the safety of all road users”.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps says he is “looking forward to continuing to work closely with him”.

“Nick will steer Highways England into an exciting new chapter, as it evolves into National Highways and delivers on our £27bn plan to improve our roads and make journeys safer, smoother and greener.”