COUNCIL officers say the recent interest rate rise is unlikely to have a ‘significant impact’ on the cost of the proposed Hereford bypass.

The Bank of England raised interest rates from 0.5% to 0.75% after much speculation on August 2.

But Herefordshire Council officers say the scheme is unlikely to be affected by the recent base rate interest increase alone.

The recently selected ‘red route’ is estimated to cost £153m to build. This is up from the £136m estimate for the western relief road calculated in 2014.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “On a major project such as the Hereford Transport Package delivered over a number of years, the impact of the recent change in the Bank of England base rate alone is unlikely to be significant in itself.

“The impact of such changes over the life of the project would be considered, alongside other factors affecting cost, as the scheme is developed and in the light of the overall funding package to be secured for the scheme.

“The council will ensure that cost estimates used for the scheme will continue to be developed in line with national best practice and guidance from Department for Transport relevant to such schemes.”

The council’s own report presented at last month’s cabinet meeting highlighted the risks associated with uncertainty of funding surrounding the project.

The report said it is possible that the current economic climate and the reliance on various funding sources to deliver the road may affect the timing and deliverability of the bypass.

The council says any risk will be managed through applications for government funding, consideration of phased delivery of the road, the development of a robust business case, and ongoing regional partnership work through both the LEP and Midland Connect to secure funds from central government.

The red route will be taken forward for further scheme development and consultation later this year.

That next consultation stage will allow stakeholders to comment on bypass scheme’s detail based on the and consultation results will inform a future cabinet decision to confirm the bypass scheme and active travel measures.