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Prescott turns to private sector for south east development zones

PRIVATE SECTOR investors will be asked to fund over £20bn worth of infrastructure needed in four new development zones in south east England, deputy prime minister John Prescott revealed this week.

New roads, rail links, power generating and distribution capacity, water and sewage treatment facilities, schools and hospitals will be needed as 200,000 new homes are built in the south east over the next 1520 years.

The Thames Gateway east of London, Milton Keynes, Ashford in Kent and the London-StanstedCambridge corridor were identified as development hotbeds by Prescott two weeks ago.

But housing development will have to be led by the construction of new infrastructure, Prescott told a parliamentary select committee this week.

The government will spend the next 12 months consulting and drawing up a shopping list of major projects before going to the private sector to realise them, he added.

Projects already earmarked for the Thames Gateway include la bridge across the Thames lextension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Barking lenhancement of and new stations on the London Tilbury and Southend Line.

These come in addition to projects already approved, such as:

extension of Docklands Light Railway to City Airport

new transit systems in east London, Greenwich and along the Thames in Kent

upgrading of the A2

a new crossing of the River Swale.

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