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Confusion over government cost saving tool

Councils have shunned a transport accounting tool designed by Government to drive efficiency it was revealed this week.

They claim it costs too much to develop.

Government backed Transport Asset Management Plans (TAMPs) give councils a robust measure of what their assets are and what condition they are in.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has championed them as a way for local authorities to make hundreds of millions of pounds in efficiency savings on their highway budgets.

However, two reports released next month will claim that local authorities urgently need financial support to produce TAMPs.

A Treasury and DfT-commissioned report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accounting (CIPFA) will urge the Government to make at least £15M available immediately to councils to help them produce TAMPs.

The report claims that this would have saved at least £250M from UK local authorities' total infrastructure spend of £5bn during 2005/6.

Meanwhile, a new report for the DfT from consultant Atkins will say that councils urgently need clearer guidance on what TAMPs are and how to produce them. Many TAMPs already delivered were poor quality, it says.

"The evidence shows that delays in the development of TAMPs are mainly due to a lack of appropriate resources, uncertainty over requirements, and organisational issues," says the report.

Leicestershire County Council director of highways, transportation and waste management Matthew Lugg said: "A lot of highway authorities lack the building blocks to produce an effective TAMP. Some literally do not know how many miles of road they have got.

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