Council leaders in Conservative-run East Sussex have agreed to invest millions of pounds in tackling climate change and improving the county’s roads and pavements.
The county council’s Cabinet agreed one-off additional funding of £8.85million in the two areas at its meeting today (November 9).
A total of £5.8million will be spent on improving road signs, lines and pavements and carrying out road patching across the county, while £3.05million will support the authority’s efforts to cut its carbon emissions.
Cllr Nick Bennett, deputy leader and lead member for resources and climate change, said: “I’m pleased that we have been able to approve this one-off funding for key areas that matter to residents. The money will help us be in the best position to face the challenges ahead.
“The county council has set itself an ambitious target of reducing its carbon emissions by 13 per cent each year and, while we have made a strong start, we know that It is not going to be easy. The additional investment will go a long way in supporting our continuing efforts. While a lot of work already goes into maintaining our roads and pavements, we know that there is always room for improvement and the additional money is going to help us further raise the standards of our highway network and improve journeys for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.”
The highways improvement programme, named ‘Miles Better’, adds the extra £5.8m spending across four areas of work. Cabinet have agreed:
- £2.5million for extra patching work on road surfaces
- £1.8million to improve pavements
- £500,000 to refresh lines and road markings
- £1million to replace and update road signs
The established asset management approach, which prioritises highways work, will be used to determine where the additional works are needed. The investment is in addition to annual highways maintenance spending, currently £16.8m a year.
In 2019 the county council declared a climate emergency and in June 2020 Cabinet approved a Climate Emergency Action Plan covering 2020-22, which includes reducing its corporate carbon emissions by 13 per cent a year.
The additional investment will help meet this ambitious target. Cabinet have agreed spending which includes £2million to replace ageing boilers with low-carbon heating in schools and offices, £370,000 to install solar panels at 10 council sites to generate renewable power and £140,000 for low-energy lighting in 12 schools and a care home. Funding to develop a pipeline of future projects to reduce carbon emissions is also included.
Cabinet also noted an additional spend of £812,000 this financial year on climate change work, which will be met through the existing budget.