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Minister rules out payouts for drought damaged roads

Transport minister Norman Baker has slammed the door on local authorities in the east of England seeking extra cash to deal with damaged roads caused by the ongoing drought.

Baker told a conference of local authority engineers and suppliers yesterday that there would be no repeat this year of the £200M one-off emergency cash payout made last year to deal with roads damaged by the severe winter.

“I am aware of further requests for funding from councils this year, particularly in the East of England; not because it was particularly cold, but because of some other issues in that area.

“But as was made clear last year, the additional funding was made on an exceptional basis in light of the severe winter weather and the damage it caused to the highway network.

“Unfortunately this not something we can do every year,” he said.

Councils in the east of England had been lobbying for extra cash to tackle damage caused by heave, brought on by two successive dry winters.

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