Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has approved plans to reform the Highways Agency. 

The new body will now be directly answerable to the transport secretary, and will become more independent and so, for example, be able to procure contracts quicker.

The agency’s name will remain the same, and the changes will take effect by April 2015. 

Two new bodies will also be set up to monitor the new company, one of which will represent motorists and other road users, the other to scrutinise costs and performance. 

McLoughlin said of the move: “Our road network is an incredibly important national asset, but it has been neglected. This government has committed to the biggest ever investment in our roads but it is vital we have the right foundations in place to make sure this huge amount of money is spent in the most efficient way.

“The reformed Highways Agency will be more transparent and more accountable, driving down costs as it increases efficiency.

“This means taxpayers get a better deal and road users get a network that is fit for the future economic demands of this country, helping to create more jobs and support business growth.”