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Alexander urged to put regional spending first

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SOUTH EAST region politicians are to write to new transport secretary Douglas Alexander demanding that he put regional spending plans at the top of his list of priorities.

England's eight regional assemblies are waiting for government approval of transport spending plans submitted back in January (NCE 26 January).

These set out which Highways Agency and local authority schemes they are prepared to fund from regional budgets between now and 2011.

A decision was expected in April but was deferred until after last week's local elections to avoid transport becoming a political issue.

Now the South East Regional Assembly is concerned that the delay is hampering three major road schemes.

All three are Highways Agency projects. It is understood that no work can be done on them until the government sanctions the South East Assembly's plan.

'The document was submitted on 31 January and we have been awaiting a response since then.

The effect of delaying is starting to have an impact on developing schemes, ' said the Assembly's planning and implementation director Martin Tugwell.

The Assembly will write to Alexander stressing the need for a resolution to the current hiatus. .

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