Funding cuts to hit road schemes

A LACK of funding from central government will result in only a small number of new transport schemes getting the go-ahead in East Anglia over the next ten years, it was warned today.

Richard Cornwell

A LACK of funding from central government will result in only a small number of new transport schemes getting the go-ahead in East Anglia over the next ten years, it was warned today.

The East of England Regional Assembly heard about half of the £1.2 billion available from government up to 2018/19 is already committed to 21 transport schemes - including the dualling of the A11 Fiveways at Thetford, B1115 Stowmarket Relief Road, South Lowestoft Relief Road, and the M1-A5 link road near Dunstable.

There is fierce competition for the remaining funding with councils and the Highways Agency seeking money for 100 transport schemes across the region.

In the next five years, 35 transport schemes costing around £900 million are chasing only £80m.

The assembly, a regional grouping of councils and organisations independent of Government, is working to prioritise the transport schemes.

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Recommendations will be made to government, which will make the final decision on which schemes are funded.

John Reynolds, EERA chairman said: “Investment in transport is vital to boosting the region's economy and for linking new jobs and homes.

“Whilst we are pleased to give our advice, we are disappointed that recent government announcements have not significantly increased the funding pot for transport in the region.

“We need to make best use of this limited money but there will be tough choices ahead.”

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