The RHA has met with the group that will be scrutinising the performance of the Highways Agency (HA) once its reform is complete.

Transport watchdog Passenger Focus will form a stakeholder group, including representatives from the road haulage sector, to represent the views of those using the strategic road network once the HA is transformed into a government-owned company.

RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning said he found Passenger Focus’s strategy to be “very encouraging” and hopes to form a close relationship with the group over the next year.

“They seem to have a balanced approach to what they’re doing,” Dunning told “They are a broadly-based body and we [the road haulage industry] are one part of the bigger picture.”

Passenger Focus intends to separate the stakeholder group from the rail and passenger transport groups also within its remit.

It will also carry out research into the opinons of those using the HA's network, but Dunning stressed that the views of CV operators are unlikely to be 'cherry picked' from the research.

Legislation to allow the group to begin formerly working with the Highways Agency is hoped to be passed before the general election next year, Dunning added.

The decision to appoint a new chairman of Passenger Focus before the interests of road users have been determined came under fire from the FTA last month.

It wrote to transport minister Stephen Hammond, urging him to postpone the appointment until the job description had been updated to reflect the group’s responsibility for roads.

FTA MD James Hookham said it was concerned that road users would become “second class passengers” and felt the interests of commercial vehicle operators were “an afterthought in these new arrangements”.

The Transport Committee last month said the reformed HA will need a "strong system of scrutiny" in place.