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Road Infrastructure

Volume 547: debated on Thursday 28 June 2012

The 2010 spending review committed investment of £2.3 billion for major road improvements over the next four years. We also committed to investment of £614 million towards local road projects. The 2011 autumn statement provided a further £1 billion investment for strategic roads.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Surrey pays more revenue to the Exchequer than any part of the country outside London, but it has the third-worst roads and, taking traffic volumes into account, gets the second-lowest funding of all counties for highways maintenance. What steps is she taking to repair and maintain Surrey’s roads so that the county can continue to generate high revenue for Britain?

I agree that is important. Actually, the latest statistics published by the Department suggest that Surrey road conditions are slightly higher than average. Of the 117 local authorities where we allocate highway maintenance funding, Surrey falls into the top 15 and we are providing £61 million. In addition, my hon. Friend will know that we are focused on important schemes; we are providing £24 million towards the Walton bridge scheme that is now under construction. We are willing to put in that investment, and it will make a big difference on the ground.

Roads are a very important part of any sustainable transport structure. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State turned down Halton’s bid for a sustainable transport fund, and I am in correspondence with the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), on the issue. Can the Secretary of State confirm whether any other area has been asked to rework and resubmit its bid? If so, can she tell me why it has, but not Halton?

We had a rigorous process for looking at all the bids; they were considered by a panel of experts that we appointed. Some of the bids were modified in the light of the reaction of the independent panel, and we took our investment decisions on that basis.