EU red tape could delay landslip repairs

A road closed by a landslip at Christmas is likely to be shut for another two years.

The surface of the B6344 at Cragend, near Rothbury, started to move on Boxing Day, and a section of the road collapsed.

It has been closed ever since, and while Government funding of £5million, which will meet 70 per cent of the expected cost of repairs, has been granted, work is not likely to be completed until August 2015.

Now repairs could be pushed back another six to nine months because the contract for work has to be advertised at a European level. Under current rules, any contract which will cost more than £4,348,350 has to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Rothbury and Coquetdale county councillor Steven Bridgett said: “The EU process does not even necessarily result in the best companies being selected.

“Those with experience of complying with the questioning score highly, yet this does not guarantee the best delivery or value for money and this is not in the best interests of the residents.”