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Report cover showing English countryside

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Countryside Agency – The right of access to open countryside

The crucial test for the right to roam is whether walkers can use it, and on this score it has been a success. Walkers are no longer restricted to existing footpaths across large areas of the countryside, with thousands of hectares now open to the public, in many cases for the first time. But although the scheme’s implementation has gone well, the Countryside Agency should have put effective risk and project management procedures in place earlier.

Published:
9 Jun 2006
Report cover showing cars waiting

A5 Queue relocation in Dunstable

‘The residents and workers of Dunstable were led to expect reduced congestion and improved air quality, and so were naturally disappointed when these did not materialize. I encourage the Highways Agency to learn from this and do more to keep local communities informed about schemes, their progress and their likely effects.’

Published:
28 Apr 2006
Report cover showing the number nine bus to Hammersmith

Delivery Chain Analysis for Bus Services in England (Prepared Jointly by the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission)

“The government’s target to reverse the long-term decline in bus use and achieve growth both nationally and in all regions is challenging. London is leading the way. If growth in all the regions is to be achieved, strong leadership from the Department of Transport will be essential, to build on its policies and encourage local transport authorities and operators to bring about the concerted action needed”.

Audit Commission Chairman, James Strachan said:

“Buses are an important lifeline for many people and help reduce congestion in towns and cities. This has been recognised by targets to increase bus use. Our report analysed whether the best means have been adopted to achieve these targets. Success depends on many organisations working efficiently together. However what stands out is that where there is strong local leadership to increase the use of buses, as in London, the difference is real and the public notices it.”

Additional key findings:

Additional key recommendations:

As owner of the national target, the Department of Transport should:

At the same time, local transport authorities should:

General Information

NAO press enquiries: Barry Lester, Tel: 020 7798 7937
Mobile: 07748 181692

Audit Commission press enquiries: Amelia Dixon, Tel: 020 7166 2205
Mobile: 07716 098231

Published:
9 Dec 2005
Report cover showing commuters at a station and an approaching train

The South Eastern Passenger Rail Franchise

“The seeds of Connex South Eastern’s difficulties were sown when the train operating company won its franchise with an over-ambitious bid. It indeed subsequently proved to be undeliverable. The Strategic Rail Authority lost confidence in CSE and took the difficult and finely balanced decision to terminate the franchise. The SRA went on to demonstrate that the successful termination of a train operating company’s franchise is feasible, and that taxpayers’ and passengers’ interests can be protected, through careful management of the attendant risks.

“This case highlights lessons to be learned, however, in how franchises are awarded and managed, which the Department for Transport must keep in view as it takes forward the responsibilities it has recently inherited from the Strategic Rail Authority.”

Published:
2 Dec 2005
Report cover showing family outside their house

Using modern methods of construction to build homes more quickly and efficiently

“Modern construction methods can produce important benefits for housing authorities and developers, not the least of which is the reduced emphasis on on-site activity. This is particularly important in a time of increasing demands on an already stretched labour force. As with any new way of doing things there are risks, but these can be mitigated through good project planning and management.”

Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper said:

“We must ensure that we build the new homes that the next generation can afford. This report shows that it is possible to build faster and cheaper using modern methods of construction whilst keeping the same high quality as traditional methods. We said it should be possible to build a high quality house for less than £60,000. Now the NAO has shown that is right.”

Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation, said:

“For the last five years the Corporation has been at the vanguard of encouraging innovation and modern methods in order that greater numbers of much needed good quality homes may be delivered more efficiently. The results of this study clearly show that modern methods have a distinct and continuing role to play in the delivery of our £1.6 billion a year programme.”

Note

This report is supported by more detailed material available on an accompanying CD-ROM providing a firm basis for further improvements in using modern methods of construction. The background material includes a set of sample project plans, showing how plans need to be tailored to gain maximum benefit from modern methods of construction. Detailed cost figures are also available, outlining how we calculated costs and how cost breakdown differs across construction methods. Also included are scenario papers examining cost variations for other development types, and papers detailing the whole life cost and durability of a sample development.

Published:
22 Nov 2005
Report cover showing an aerial view of the progress of the channel tunnel

Progress on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link

The National Audit Office’s report finds that London & Continental Railways (LCR) successfully completed the construction of Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) on time and at a cost slightly below the target set in the 1998 restructuring. Drawing on the reasons for this achievement, the NAO report highlights lessons for other … Read more

Published:
21 Jul 2005
Report cover showing the inside of a railway station

Maintaining and improving Britain’s railway stations

While most of Britain’s largest stations provide excellent facilities, many other stations do not. The government, the industry and other interested parties must work together in a more concerted fashion to tackle the financial and other barriers to improvement so that more of our stations provide the facilities and services that rail passengers deserve.

Published:
20 Jul 2005