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East Anglia: Highways Agency wins court battle over region’s roads

PUBLISHED: 18:40 04 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:21 05 February 2013

The A14n at Stowupland

The A14n at Stowupland

THE Highways Agency has won a court battle with its contractors over the cost of maintaining trunk roads in East Anglia.

Atkins maintains trunk roads in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and north Cambridgeshire – and is given a fixed sum by the agency to carry out routine maintenance including repairing road surfaces after bad weather.

The company’s contract with the Agency includes a fixed sum to carry out repairs, and it had claimed that the harsh winters of the last few years had caused more damage so the Agency’s fee should be increased.

However the High Court rejected that argument – saying that was a risk the company had taken when it agreed the five-year deal.

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said the decision would not change the way roads were maintained.

She added: “Safety is our top priority and we work hard to ensure that England’s motorway and trunk road network is among the safest in the world. This is managed through contracts with service providers.

“It (the decision) will not impact on our roads as our service provider is contractually bound to undertake regular inspections to identify issues on our road network, including potholes.

“When road surface defects such as potholes occur, the cost of their repair forms part of a fixed lump sum payment to our area maintenance contractors.”

A spokesman for Atkins said all the work required under the contract had been carried out – the issue was whether an extra sum should be paid because of the harsh weather.

He added: “We accept the court’s decision and will continue to work with the Highways Agency to provide a safe and well maintained road network.”

The Orwell Bridge has reopened this morning after 80mph winds battered Suffolk and brought its closure.

Body positivity is a term that is bandied about a lot at the moment and that can make it sound flippant, unimportant and self indulgent, writes Kate Dickinson.

Major traffic disruption and storm damage is being reported across the region today as gusts of up to 80mph were recorded in Suffolk and north Essex.

Multiple fire crews were at the scene of a blaze that started in a north Suffolk village this morning.

An MP has told parliament 20 people died in instances when ambulances arrived late to emergencies in East Anglia during a spell of intense pressure over the Christmas period.

A teacher training scheme in Colchester which works with dozens of schools in the area has been rated ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted.

Several schools in Suffolk are to remain closed or open later this morning amid high winds.

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