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Local transport improvement projects given the green light

The Department for Transport has given the go-ahead to four projects, including plans to extend the Nottingham tram, after savings were made in the proposed private finance initiative (PFI) schemes.

The government has given the go-ahead to the projects after £209M of savings were found, including the tram extension, within the four year Comprehensive Spending Review period.

Alongside the Nottingham tram extension, highways maintenance PFIs for Sheffield, Hounslow and the Isle of Wight will continue to the next stage of the funding approval process.

The Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 is being delivered as a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain (DBFO) PFI scheme.

The first line of Nottingham Express Transit (NET) opened in March 2004 running from the main rail station through the city centre to Hucknall to the north of the city.

This project would involve two new extensions: a 9.6km Chilwell and Beeston route would run from the railway station to the south west of the city, and a 7.3km long Clifton route would run from the railway station to the south of the City.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “This Government is committed to delivering an effective, sustainable and high quality transport network across the country despite the tough economic conditions.

“By vigorously pursuing cost reductions we can invest in a greater number of key local infrastructure projects which help boost the economy and jobs, thanks to the benefits these projects provide in their local areas.

“Following the spending review last year, we challenged the four local authorities to look again at the cost of the PFI projects they are promoting to ensure we get maximum value for every pound we spend.

“The Department has been working closely with the authorities involved to ensure these projects are affordable. I am pleased that they have been able to rise to the challenge and have identified savings of 21% from the original estimated costs.

“By finding these savings, I can confirm that we are today allowing these projects to move a step forward within our funding approval process.”

The projects can now continue their procurement processes and, subject to approval of a final business case, will be able to award the service contracts.

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