To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the new data to calculate traffic flow for Stockport were compiled; why this affected the grant related expenditure calculations; why the formula was implemented in the current financial year; and why there was a consequent loss of grant for Stockport.
In assessing the relative need of authorities to spend on highways maintenance account is taken of the length of roads for which an authority is responsible, and relative road usage particularly by heavy goods vehicles. Estimates of road usage are produced by the Department of Transport based on measured flows at selected sites within each local authority area. The Department of Transport has recently changed the method of estimating road usage and in particular now takes account of flow estimates for all appropriate sections of road rather than only a sample of measuring sites. In the 1988–89 rate support grant settlement, we included these improved estimates of road usage in the highways maintenance GRE. Authorities that were thereby assessed to have higher relative road usage received more grant, whereas authorities such as Stockport that were assessed as having lower relative road usage received less grant.