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DfT leaves big roads off regions funding list

Contractors fear transport secretary is passing the buck and major infrastructure work will go

DOZENS of major road schemes on the regions' priority lists have been left out of the Department for Transport's regional funding allocations, released last week.

Long-awaited schemes such as the £107 million M6 to M56 improvement and the £550 million Manchester Airport Link Road have not been approved, sparking fears among contractors that million of poundswor th of infrastructure work will be dumped.

Decisions on several highprofile schemes, such as the Stonehenge bypass and the A3 Hindhead route have also been postponed. The DfT gave initial approval but the routes are now bogged down in the decision making process as they await ministerial decisions.

Several industry insiders have accused the DfT of 'passing the buck'. One contractor said: 'It seems some schemes are just getting transferred from list to list, while the cost for the projects rise and rise'.

Regional transport boards were set up last July after the then transport secretary Alistair Darling announced each English region would have a say in deciding priorities for major transport projects. Eight boards were given until January to submit 25 priorities, which led to many road schemes getting cut from the list.

In a statement last week transport secretary Douglas Alexander said: 'In the light of the regions conf irming their priorities I am today giving final approval to a further five local authority schemes, allowing them to proceed to construction or implementation in the next few months.'

He also approved 17 new schemes for entry into regional programmes after their business cases were assessed.

Mr Alexander added: 'The regions have also advised on schemes at earlier stages following initial Government approval. Ref lecting that advice, I expect to fund 78 of these in future years, subject to the schemes securing powers, continuing to deliver good value for money and controlling costs.'

A spokesman for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said: 'These are positive announcements that contractors have been waiting for since the beginning of the year, but they do not include the detailed spending profile we would look for in something being sold as a 10-year plan.

'We are keen to add our views to any consultation on how this might go forward as well as work with regional bodies to ensure contractors' views are taken into account.'

Newly approved schemes by region

SOUTH-WEST

Greater Bristol Bus Network (Greater Bristol Authorities) £42 million

Taunton Third Way & Northern Distributor Road (Somerset County Council) £28

EAST OF ENGLAND

A130/A13 Sadlers Farm Junction (Essex County Council) £65 million

EAST MIDLANDS

Mansfield Bus Station (Nottinghamshire County Council) £7

A47 Earl Shilton Bypass (Leicestershire County Council) £15

NORTH-EAST

None

NORTH-WEST Metrolink Phase 3A extension (Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive GMPTE) £260

Blackpool Tramway Emergency Works (Blackpool City Council/Lancashire County Council) £11.8

Greater Manchester Urban Traffic Control (GMPTE) £13.6

WEST MIDLANDS

A4123/A461 Burnt Tree Junction (Dudley/Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council) £10.3 million

SPARK - Leamington Spa/Warwick Public Transport (Warwickshire County Council) £14.8 million

Birmingham International Airport/NEC Public Transport Access (Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council) £10.3

YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER

A65 Kirkstall Road QBC (Metro/Leeds City Council) £20

Kirklees Highway Strengthening and Bridge Maintenance (Kirklees Metropolitan Council) £15 million

Beverley Integrated Transport Scheme (East Riding of Yorkshire Council) £29.3

Bridlington Integrated Transport Scheme (East Riding of Yorkshire Council) £4.7 million

Waverley Link Road (Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council) £8.1

SOUTH-EAST

East Kent Access Phase 2 (Kent County Council) £8.2million

DEVELOPED SCHEMES GIVEN FULL APPROVAL EAST OF ENGLAND

Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (Cambridgeshire County Council) £85

EAST MIDLANDS

Costal Access Phase 2 - A158 Burgh Le Marsh Bypass (Lincolnshire County Council) £15 million

A6096 Ilkeston-Awsworth Link Road (Derbyshire County Council) £12

NORTH-WEST

Metrolink Phase 1&2 Renewal (GMPTE) £102

YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER

Yorcard Pilot (South Yorkshire Public Transport Executive) £8.6 million