Essex roads cash grant concerns

A CASH boost of nearly £35million for transport in Essex will not address “fundamental issues” facing the county, it has been claimed. Essex County Council has said it “cautiously welcomes” the extra Government funding to be spent on highways and transportation infrastructure.

A CASH boost of nearly £35million for transport in Essex will not address “fundamental issues” facing the county, it has been claimed.

Essex County Council has said it “cautiously welcomes” the extra Government funding to be spent on highways and transportation infrastructure.

The investment, announced in the Local Transport Plan settlement for England and Wales, will see

£12.5m for transport improvements in the next financial year with another £22.4m for highways maintenance works.


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The money given to Essex was the largest share received in the East of England region from the Government, representing 22% of the total.

But Rodney Bass, the Essex county councillor in charge of highways and transportation said: “Whilst we welcome the additional money that has made available, it is very much at the bottom of the scale of funding levels which might have been expected given the needs of the county.

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“A bid for £8 million to address the problems caused by dry weather has also been ignored so far.

“This funding will be put to good use as outlined in our second local transport plan, but it will very much be aimed at routine and smaller scale transport improvements, and will not address more fundamental issues which will need to be resourced from other bids or through other financial packages and planning gain.”

Mr Bass has not yet detailed how the money will be spent, but it will only be used for routine issues, rather than major projects such as the dualling of the A120 between Braintree and Colchester.

The county council is now planning to raise the issue of “funding gaps” in the local transport plan when it meets with Government early this year.

The settlement for 2007-8 is part of a five-year package for 2006-2011, estimated to be worth £170million, designed to reduce congestion, create safer roads and improve air quality.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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