Herefordshire Council plans to spend nearly £40 million extra in the county over the next year with highways and transport at the heart of that investment.
Under its proposed capital programme for 2023/24, the council will borrow nearly £25 million of this, the remaining £15 million to come from grants and reserves, reports the Hereford Times.
The projects range across the services the council provides in the county, breaking down as follows:
- If approved, it will spend just over £18 million on a new fleet of bin lorries along with electric vehicle charging infrastructure at its two waste collection depots;
- Just over £4 million will go on highways maintenance, as a condition of extra funding for this from the Government. The county has a backlog of around £91 million of carriageway work, not counting foot and cycle paths, street lighting and furniture, and traffic management;
- A further £144,000 will be spent bringing in moving traffic enforcement measures at two unspecified Hereford sites;
- £2.8 million will go on the Hereford Transport Hub, the planned public transport interchange at the railway station, following the awarding of nearly £20 million of Government cash for the project last month;
- £73,000 will go on adding four electric cargo bikes to the Hereford’s Beryl public bike share scheme, along with two docking stations for the bikes, one on each side of the Wye;
- A further £315,000 will be spent removing and replacing trees on public land suffering from ash dieback, a novel disease which can leave them structurally dangerous.
Some other projects also depend on getting grants from central Government or other sources, which are not always forthcoming.
Cabinet member for procurement and assets Coun Gemma Davies said at a recent cabinet meeting on January 26 that the council “absolutely has to” spending £18 million on new waste vehicles, the largest individual new capital item.