Asphalt Group MD, Howard Cooke, appointed to the Highways Sector Council

Highways Sector Council Logo

‘I am delighted to announce my appointment to become a member of the Highways Sector Council’, says Howard. ‘The Council brings together industry and government to transform the highways sector by taking advantage of new technologies and working to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for all highway users, taxpayers and the wider society.’

As well as Howard, the Highways Sector Council (HSC) announced eight other new appointments and said these new appointments would broaden its representation of the industry and transform delivery in the sector.

Officially launched in April last year, the HSC’s purpose is to bring together the highways sector with the government to create a unified approach to maintain and transform our highways network. It will focus on driving innovation in technology and ways of working to deliver real benefits to the environment, economy, and society, ensuring that the highways sector provides a more substantial contribution to the economy.

The HSC sees there is a unique opportunity to support the infrastructure revolution collaboratively, to tackle the decarbonisation agenda and to take action to clear the highways maintenance backlog and make potholes a thing of the past. 

The Council have stated their aims as being:

  • Developing a collaborative approach to transform and improve how the sector works across a number of key areas: people and skills, innovation, safety, environment, value, investment and delivery models.
  • Speaking to central government with a unified voice with greater clarity on asks from and offers to government.
  • Working as a private and public partnership with central government, local government and the supply chain to develop and deliver a plan as one for our key areas.
  • Using ISO 44001 Collaborative Framework and its behaviours as the benchmark for all Council related activity.

People and skills will form a key focus for the HSC to gain increased investment in training and generating opportunities for the next generation of apprentices and graduates. Diversity and inclusion will be at the heart of this strategy. As will the Health & Safety of the workforce and road users with the HSC intent on driving further improvement in the sector’s safety record.

The HSC has also formed a Future Leaders Group tasked with ‘making highways a career of choice’, helping the sector attract and retain skilled candidates from all backgrounds. The Group’s work is vital and will help shape the future of the sector.

The highways sector is complex, with many different types of businesses and organisations, large and small, trying to engage with the central government. The HSC intends to create greater synergies with the supply chain across local and central government for improved productivity and efficiency.

The Charter states:

  • Strive to achieve best practice in our recruitment, retention and career progression practices as employers. 
  • Support the development of good diversity and inclusion practice by collecting and sharing examples of practical activities that contribute to progress with CIHT and other signatories. 
  • Assign responsibility for meeting our Charter Commitments to a named, senior-level individual. 
  • Work together to develop and adopt future protocols and practice that support the implementation of the aims of this Charter. 
  • Recognise, respect, capitalise and celebrate contributions from different people to strengthen team performance. 
  • Display the CIHT diversity and inclusion logo to publically demonstrate our commitment to this agenda
Howard Cooke, the Asphalt Group MD

Howard particularly wants to be a voice and represent all the small to medium-sized businesses in the sector. ‘My appointment is a tremendous honour, and I am excited about working with the other members of the Council’, says Howard. ‘I am looking forward to the challenges ahead, especially for the inclusion of SME’s.’

For more information about the Highways Sector Council, visit their website at