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Rural transport schemes promised £43M

RURAL BUS networks will receive an extra £43M over the next three years, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced at the launch of the Rural White Paper this week.

It is hoped that the increase in the rural bus subsidy grant, previously worth £90M, will by 2010 raise by a third the number of rural householders within 10 minutes walking distance of an hourly bus service.

Also earmarked is £15M to boost the number of rural residents with access to a car. Each parish can apply for up to £10,000 to fund local transport schemes such as car clubs or the purchase of a communal village moped or car.

A quarter of rural residents are currently without access to a car.

Rural road safety will receive £1bn investment over the next 10 years for 50 new bypass schemes and traffic calming measures.

Under new guidance for rural road speeds, more 30mph zones will be added and the number of 60mph roads will be reduced.

Chairman of the Countryside Agency Ewen Cameron has been appointed to produce an annual report on progress of the new proposals. The first report is expected in April 2002.

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