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Nottingham metro brought forward 10 years as Arrow concedes on investment

NOTTINGHAM'S METRO system has been brought forward by 10 years after private sector partners dropped demands to judge future investments on the performance of line one, NCE learned this week.

Renewed confidence in light rail has helped Nottingham City and County Councils to persuade the Arrow Consortium, which is to build and operate the Nottingham Express Transit, to bring forward plans to start work on lines two, three and four of the system from 2013 to 2003.

The original 25 year concession for line one was signed in May and included delays which effectively kept extensions to the system a decade away. But the contract with the Arrow Consortium of Carillion, Adtranz, Transdev and Nottingham City Transport has been renegotiated to allow for immediate planning of extensions.

Arrow is said to have wanted to be sure that NET was a commercial success before commiting itself to further lines. But the £30bn transport bonanza for local transport over the next 10 years revealed in the Government's 10 year transport plan is said to have changed its view.

Nottingham City Council's head of transport strategy Sue Flack said: 'Arrow wanted to wait and find out how line one would do commercially before agreeing to operate further lines.

But all this new investment has changed its view and private sector backers are more relaxed.'

In addition to Government cash, the Nottingham councils will also have an annual revenue of around £14M from workplace parking charges which are expected to be introduced in 2003.

Flack said: 'Because we are introducing a workplace parking levy by 2003 we need to get three new NET lines as soon as possible. We are also expecting next year's Local Transport Plan settlement to double that of last year's which will help to get things moving.'

A Transport & Work Act application for the NET extensions is now planned for autumn 2001. It is hoped that contractors will start working on the three new privately financed lines by 2003.

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