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Council scrutiny is long overdue


THE GOVERNMENT'S plan to establish a major projects group to scrutinise local authority transport procurement is the first bit of good news for civil engineers in months.

Local authorities are key to delivering the Government's roads and light rail policy. But they fail to meet expectations too often.

Most of the country's light rail schemes have been shunted into sidings because local authority chiefs foolishly accepted unrealistic passenger forecasts.

The situation is just as bad in road building. Instead of much needed road schemes speeding through planning they slow to a crawl as lack of resources and needless planning wrangles take their toll.

Details of how this new trouble shooting division for local authority projects will work are sketchy ahead of the official launch before Christmas. But the remit to monitor transport spending and presumably provide expert advice where it is needed is long overdue.