Members to agree £135m spending on highway projects and consider role in advocating transport improvements on national level

11 January 2018

At the Environment, Development and Transport committee meeting, on Friday 19 January, members will be considering items including the budget, the allocation of more than £135m of spending on a range of highways projects, lobbying for improvements to the A47 and railways, and the next steps in the Great Yarmouth third river crossing project.

Martin Wilby, Chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport committee, said:  “With government funding continuing to fall officers are doing a great job to make the most of what we have and to bring in external funding wherever possible.  This hard work means that despite money being tight we are able to consider projects that will see over £135m spent on Norfolk’s highway network that helps support the local economy and enables people to access jobs, learning and essential services.  And we will be continuing to lobby the government for improvements to the A47 and Norfolk’s rail network”.

At next week’s meeting one of the items members will be asked to approve is the investment of an extra £20m in Norfolk’s roads over the next four years.  Proposed spending includes £2m which is set to continue the Local Member Highways Budget, launched in June 2017, and which sees each county councillor have control of an annual £6,000 budget which can be used on small highway works in their division.  Other spending would include £100,000 to help continue the popular Parish Partnerships scheme, £2.7m for junction improvements and £200,000 on public rights of way.

Members also be considering two reports which could see the county council both continuing and boosting its role of advocating improvements to Norfolk’s transport network that are not within the authority’s control but are vital for the future prosperity of the county.  The first item members will be considering is the authority’s response to a consultation on Highways England’s Strategic Road Network Initial Report which looks at development of the trunk road network from 2020 to 2025.  Councillors will hear that the report provides an opportunity for the county council to reaffirm its priorities for the A47 and influence government investment decisions and the future shape of the trunk road network so that maximum benefits can be realised for the county.  The consultation on the report is running until 7 February.

And, continuing the role of advocating improvements to Norfolk’s transport network, members will be looking at how the County Council could better ensure that rail industry performance is accountable.  An option for the committee is to task the Norfolk Rail Group with reviewing how it operates with a view to making it a stronger and more effective group.  Councillors will also be considering whether to nominate a Member for the board of Community Rail Norfolk.

Members of the committee will also receive an update on the council’s project to build a third river crossing in Great Yarmouth, with a focus on the process required to appoint a contractor to build the bridge.  This is the first meeting of the committee since the council was allocated a Government contribution of £98m to support the crossing in the Autumn Budget.

For political comment

Cllr Martin Wilby (Conservative) Chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, on 07920 286618 or 01379 741504
Cllr Terry Jermy (Labour), on 01842 630851
Cllr Tim East (Liberal Democrat), on 01603 74324
Cllr Mick Castle (Independent), on 07966 798928

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