The UK government is investigating the possibility of auctioning off naming rights to its ten busiest motorways next year in an effort to raise additional funds for the upkeep of public infrastructure.
According to a report in The Times, if acted upon, key arteries such as the M1 between London and Leeds, the M8 through Glasgow and the M25 around London could all lose their M designations in favour of a new corporate identity in a scheme modeled on the ‘Adopt a Highway’ scheme in the US.
It is thought that the Treasury could raise as much as £200m per year if the scheme takes off, with businesses paying for the privilege of having their branding added to roadside signs in return for financing maintenance and ‘beautification’ work.
The Times cited an overheard conversation by Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss, who suggested the measures could be implemented in 2019 once Brexit dust has settled.
Truss is reported to have said: “My new vision is all about the roads. We need to push to get company sponsorship for the top ten motorways, like they have in the USA. We’ll wait until the new year though because obviously now everything is consumed by Brexit.”
It is believed that officials have already held exploratory talks with Pat Nelson, president of the 'Adopt a Highway' scheme to confirm its viability.