Extra investment to support the local economy
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Hampshire County Council's investment in transport and environmental measures that will support growth in the county's local economy has increased for 2012-13. This is partly due to a substantial injection of Government funding, thanks to joint working with partner authorities on successful bids for Local Sustainable Transport Funding to the Department for Transport.
The two most recent awards are £18 million for travel initiatives within the Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH) area and £3.8 million for New Forest and South Downs National Parks. The County Council played a key role in securing this funding.
Supporting the economy by keeping Hampshire moving is a County Council priority and underpins the County Council's strategy in focusing resources on improving the condition and resilience of the county's highways. HCC will be investing over £46 million on structural maintenance. Of this, £4 million has been set aside within the Operation Resilience budget for a programme of structural drainage works.
With responsibility as the lead local flood authority, the County Council is also investing £1 million in a two year programme for flood risk and coastal defence work, including the development of surface water management plans with the aim of having in place a plan of action to minimise the risk of severe flooding and, in turn, protect residents and businesses in Hampshire.
Alongside this, with the additional funding from Government, the County Council is working with partners (the City Councils in Portsmouth and Southampton, the Isle of Wight Council, the New Forest and South Downs National Park Authorities and bus operators) to support economic growth and efficiency through better transport management and initiatives that will encourage more people to travel on public transport, or to walk or cycle. This includes the development of a 'smart card' for use on bus and ferry services initially in South Hampshire. Work on the 'My Journey' campaign is underway too, with activities aimed at encouraging people out of their cars in favour of other forms of travel.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said:
"Having an increased budget to invest in the county's transport network will make a significant difference in our ability to keep Hampshire moving and our economy growing. Success in winning Local Sustainable Transport Fund money is a real boost for Hampshire as a whole. It will enable us, working with our partners, to put a number of wide ranging initiatives in place to significantly improve how people travel, whether it is to work, training, to school or college, or for shopping and leisure - all of which are essential to the economic success of South Hampshire in the future, and in turn the South East.
"We are now into our third year of our long term strategy to strengthen our roads and make them more resilient to changes in weather and increasing volumes of traffic. The recent prolonged spells of heavy rain highlight the urgent need to continue with this programme. Coupled with this is the need to improve our highways drainage making the funding allocated for this work essential.
"Allocating funds for flood risk and coastal defences is prudent, given the recent weather. This is especially true now that the County Council has been given new responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, yet with limited funding from Government to carry out the required duties."