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Brown: Cash to rebuild Cumbria bridges

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced emergency funding to rebuild bridges and roads in Cumbria devastated by last week’s flooding.

The Prime Minister said the extra money would be made available to local authorities via the Department for Transport.

Investment in flood defences was also set to reach £800M by next year, he said in a speech to the CBI conference in London.

“By immediate careful inspection and then reinspection of all highway agency bridges, we are determined to keep safe and secure this vital part of our national infrastructure,” Mr Brown said.

“I am conscious of people’s worries about this and I can say that additional emergency funding will be made available from the Department for Transport to local authorities to support the necessary repair work for bridges and roads.”

Tory leader David Cameron backed the safety checks but called for a “sensible attitude towards risk”.

“Given the appalling events that have taken place in Cumbria, it obviously makes sense to inspect all of those bridges as quickly as can be done,” he told the CBI.

“All our infrastructure has to be fit for purpose and regularly checked and the rest of it. We have to be careful, though, not to think that you can take the risk out of everything.

“There are bridges in my constituency that have been there for hundreds of years that, I am sure, if you subjected them to them to the most rigorous health and safety audit, you could probably shut those roads for months on end while you thought about it.”

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