MP’s plea to Westminster for bridge repair funding

Andrew Bowie - has urged Westminster to intervene with funding
Andrew Bowie - has urged Westminster to intervene with funding

A North-east MP has called on the UK Government to step in and help fund “vital” bridge repairs in Aberdeenshire.

Andrew Bowie has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP to ask if Westminster can intervene.

Aberdeenshire Council has around 1,500 bridges on the local road and rail network – with several currently closed due to damage or structural defects.

In Mr Bowie’s West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency, the Abbeyton Bridge was shut, as was Park Bridge, near Drumoak, causing serious disruption to local businesses and residents.

Control over transport and infrastructure spending is devolved to the Scottish Government.

However, Mr Bowie has asked if the UK Stronger Towns Fund, which supports local communities in England, could be spent north of the border.

If not, the Scottish Conservative MP has asked if additional funding via the Barnett Formula – which splits cash among the devolved parts of the UK – may be possible.

In his letter, Mr Bowie said: “As you will know, local authorities in Scotland and especially Aberdeenshire Council have received cuts to funding in recent Scottish Government budgets.

“It is therefore very difficult for the council to commit to replacement bridges.

“The local authority do not have the funds to manage what is fast becoming ‘a crisis’.”