Headlines: June 8th, 2010

A new report says that more than four billion pounds worth of local transport projects in England are under threat from spending cuts. The figure comes today from the Campaign for Better Transport which expects the Budget to outline the Department for Transport’s priorities and says cuts of 50 per cent in local transport spending would mean a reduction of 4.4 billion pounds.

Setting out other possible scenarios, the Campaign says that if the Government decides to cut by a tenth 2 billion worth projects would have to go. Cuts of 25 per cent would see the scrapping of 3 billion pounds worth of schemes being cancelled and the 50 per cent cut would leave just 793 million pounds for local transport schemes.

The figures are based on the lists of transport priorities set out by the eight English regions for schemes costing more that 5 million pounds over the next ten years. The Campaign for Better Transport says each region was told to include 20 per cent more schemes than there was money for, because projects were sometimes delayed and some schemes did not get planning permission.

Richard George, roads and climate campaigner for the Campaign said: “With tough times ahead, regions must be careful to fund the right schemes. They can fund a handful of big projects, which means most areas won’t see any investment for several years, or invest in lower cost solutions which would spread the benefits more widely.”

He added: “Councils should accept that their 100 million pound road schemes just aren’t viable any more. Instead, they should start looking into more affordable ways to solve their transport problems.”