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Councils win cash for road drought damage

News

COUNCILS IN east and south east England last week won £14.2M of emergency funding from central government to tackle damage caused by the dry summer.

The Department for Transport agreed to allocate the extra cash from its emergency fund for natural disasters.

Engineers had feared many roads would have to be closed if the money was not made available (NCE 13 November 2003).

But strong lobbying by the East of England Directors of Environment & Transport (EEDET) network management group won government support.

Campaigns in NCE and local media also helped.

Peterborough City Council faces a £2.4M bill for repairs, from an annual maintenance budget of just £140,000. It has secured £2.2M from the Department for Transport's emergency fund plus a £265,000 increase in its capital spending budget.

Peterborough head of transport and engineering Mark Stevens is to meet the leader of the council this week to work up tenders for repair work. Under government rules all emergency funds must be spent by March 2005.

Neighbouring Cambridgeshire County Council also fared well, winning £2.2M of a bid for £3.5M.

But not all authorities have won funding. Only councils whose repair costs exceed 15% of their capital allocation for highway maintenance in the 2004/05 Local Transport Plan settlement were considered eligible.

The same approach on compensation was taken in 2001 when local authorities roads had been damaged by flooding.

See Comment page 14

The payout South East East Sussex: £4.6M Kent: £1.9M Isle of Wight: £1.2M Hampshire £1.0M West Sussex: £1.0M Buckinghamshire: £0.2M East of England Cambridgeshire: £2.2M Peterborough: £2.2M

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