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Health News

Roads and 2nd Stansted runway among cutback casualties

Some road schemes will be deferred and grants to local authorities scaled back as part of £683 million of Department for Transport (DfT) savings announced today.

Reduced spending by Network Rail (NR) and a planned reduction in grants to Transport for London (TfL) will also form part of the cuts package, while £112 million of savings will be made within the department itself.

Improvements to the A23 in West Sussex and to the A453 in the East Midlands are among £54 million of transport projects being deferred.

In 2010-11, there will be a £309 million reduction in specific grants from the DfT to local authorities, while Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is consulting London Mayor Boris Johnson about a £108 million cut in the DfT grant to TfL.

NR spending will reduce by £100 million in this financial year, while the £112 million cuts within the DfT will include a recruitment freeze.

Meanwhile, Stansted airport operator BAA has announced that it is withdrawing its application to build a second runway at the Essex airport.

A second runway was supported by the Labour government in its 2003 aviation White Paper and at one point it had been hoped that it could be completed by 2013.

But the plans became bogged down in the planning stage and the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats announced in their manifestos that they would scrap the scheme.

The axing of the scheme was confirmed by the new coalition Government.

Stansted's managing director David Johnston said today: "We have reflected carefully on the new Government's clear intention to change airports policy and have moved quickly to withdraw this application.

"Stansted is a key driver of economic growth in this part of England, and we will continue to work hard to bring new business here and to work with our neighbours, and the wider community, to provide jobs and strong business and travel opportunities in the months and years ahead.

"We continue to believe that new airport capacity is needed in the south east of England, to strengthen the UK's international trading links."