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Performance targets for Highways Agency

THE HIGHWAYS AGENCY'S future performance will dictate the amount of money it receives from the Government, its business plan revealed this week.

Six performance indicators will be used to rate how efficiently the Agency is operating. These include:

keeping the maintenance backlog on trunk roads at between 7% and 8% saving an estimated 250,000 vehicle hours by using technology and small road improvements being able to show progress on road safety targets achieving 90% of targeted milestones in 24 road schemes.

Announcing the change, roads minister Lord Whitty said: 'For the first time the Agency has a business plan which includes outcome based performance indicators and targets which have been set by John Prescott. The six targets will help the Agency focus on delivering objectives.'

But the overall settlement of £1.45bn for 2000/2001 is down 2.5%, with the road maintenance budget down £93M from £765M to £672M. An Agency spokeswoman said £68M of the cut was due to the handing over of London's trunk road maintenance to the new Greater London Authority and £25M worth of maintenance transferring to local authority responsibility.

Improved procurement practices and cheaper, longer lasting road surfaces, she added, had also contributed to the reduced budget. 'Road maintenance is still our top priority, ' she said.

Under the plan, £494M has been allocated to 24 major road schemes - an increase of £40M - plus £203M on making better use of the network and £77M on administration costs.

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