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More transport projects spared axe

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A clutch of around 22 local transport schemes could be spared the axe after transport secretary Phillip Hammond announced £600m in funding.

The £600m pot has been made available as part of last week’s spending review and 22 projects across the country, including the Nottingham Ring Road are eligible for the cash, Mr Hammond said.

The projects include the Nottingham Ring Road, a rail growth package for Leeds, and a cross city bus scheme for Manchester all of which feared the axe. Mr Hammond said the Department for Transport would undertake a final analysis of the 22 schemes before inviting the councils concerned to bid for funding.

Mr Hammond said the government believed a competitive process will ensure that the greatest possible number of schemes, with the best value for money, will be able to proceed, facilitating economic growth and providing jobs across the country.

The full list of schemes that could yet get funding is available here.

Mr Hammond also said a further eight road schemes and eight infrastructure schemes would go ahead, in addition to the eight schemes announced by the Chancellor in the spending review last week.

Mr Hammond said the major road schemes given the green light, subject to statutory processes, would deliver major upgrades to relieve congestion through widening or managed motorways schemes.

The eight infrastructure schemes include an integrated package of sustainable transport improvements in Ipswich including improved bus facilities and walking and cycling routes and improvements to M5 J29, east of Exeter, providing access to new housing and employment areas.

But Campaign for Better Transport’s road and climate campaigner, Richard George, said the schemes announced were all subject to councils coming up with better offers than those already made by raising more funding themselves. He said in practive this would mean additional cuts to public services.

He said: “Instead of drawing a line under these damaging road schemes, and helping find cheaper solutions, the government wants councils to find more money to keep their road scheme alive. The only way these schemes can go ahead is if councils take an axe to their public services.”

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