Norfolk

Norfolk highways maintenance cuts proposed

A £1m cut in highway maintenance for a year and a cut in subsidy for a coastal bus service are two measures being looked at by a council which is dealing with a £189m budget shortfall.

Norfolk County Council said it had to make the savings over three years.

Next week the council's environment and transport panel is looking at how to make savings of £14.5m in its budget.

Other measures include introducing charges at nine recycling centres and school transport cost cuts.

A report to the panel, which meets on Tuesday, says possible savings for 2014-15 include:

  • Cutting £1m from road maintenance for one year, including reducing the number of grit bin refills, cutbacks in road marking and safety barrier replacement (except where damaged), and reducing bridge and traffic light maintenance.
  • Reducing the Coasthopper bus service subsidy by £75,000 (£150,000 over two years).
  • Charging £2 per visit at nine recycling centres (others would remain free), stopping routine liquid paint disposal and charging for tyres.
  • Scaling back on trading standards consumer advice and product and service checks.
  • Cutting the cost of school transport by encouraging pupils to use alternative modes of transport.
  • Charging for various advice and inspection activities currently provided free of charge.
  • Scaling back mineral and waste planning enforcement and reducing consultation costs on planning applications.

David Harrison, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "The council has to balance its budget, and there are no easy decisions.

"I think we can take £1m from the road maintenance budget for one year without serious long-term implications, but it's not something I would want to see repeated. The proposals for recycling centres are aimed at reducing costs so that we can keep a county-wide service running. Similarly, we are proposing to reduce support for the Coasthopper so we can maintain support for other rural bus services.

"I don't expect these proposals to be popular, but sadly they are necessary."

The council has said it is facing the £189m shortfall due to cuts in the government grants as well as the economic downturn.

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