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Councils to raid LTP cash for rail safety recommendations

NEWS

MORE CASH will be needed by local authorities to carry out safety improvements recommended this week following last year's Selby rail crash.

But both Railtrack and the Department of Transport Local Government and the Regions told NCE that they would not be providing extra finances.

The improvements are outlined in two reports published this week by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Highways Agency.

Ten people died a year ago today when a Land Rover crashed off the M62 in Yorkshire onto the East Coast Main Line. It was hit by a GNER express, which derailed into the path of an oncoming freight train. The Land Rover driver was jailed for five years last month. (NCE 24 January).

The HSE report calls for a completion of the risk assessment tool being developed by Railtrack, the HA and CSS (formerly the County Surveyors Society), which guides councils on prioritising potential danger sites.

The report says that within the next two years, all bridges that cross railway lines - of which there are an estimated 10,000 in the UK - should be inspected and action taken. This, the report says, could include new road markings or safety barriers.

But councils fear that money will have to be taken from other areas to pay for the works unless extra money is made available.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire said that while the timetable was achievable, it would have to raid its Local Transport Plan budget.

Northumberland County Council principal project officer Greg Perks agreed and said that unless extra money was allocated, 'something else would suffer'.

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