East Sussex is to receive a share in a £8.4 billion handout to pay for traffic improvements.

The county will receive a £10 million next financial year for schemes in the South East including road improvements, traffic calming and projects aimed at predestrian safety and public transport.

Provisional figures of £9.8 million for 2002/03, £8.2 million pounds for 2003/04, £8.3 million pounds for 2004/05, and 8.4 million pounds for 2005/06 will follow as part of the Government handout.

Projects to be funded in East Sussex include the port access road to Newhaven which is seen as a vital lifeline for the struggling port.

Local councillors and port owners were today due to receive the good news which will also delight motorists caught in trafic jams in the area every day due to congestion.

The announcement come at a time when the port is facing a brighter future through an expected takeover from France.

Seine Maritime intends to restore a freight ferry service and an improved link road is seen as vital to its success.

Millions of pounds is also to be spent on better bus services for rural areas, especially in the Hastings and Rother area, with improved access to the Conquest Hospital.

Money is to be made available to East Sussex County Council to implement more 20mph zones and other traffic calming measures near schools and residential areas.

Public footpaths will be improved and more cycle lanes will be built in a bid to encourage motorists to leave their cars at home.

Town centres will also benefit from cash to provide more bus lanes.

Th five-year financial settlement for local transport in Sussex is £124 million.

As well as East Suusex's £10 million, Brighton and Hove will get £5.6 million in 2001/02 for capital schemes and West Sussex £13.5 million.

But these figures could rise since they do not include major schemes or the full amount for smaller schemes and road maintenance.

In all, the Government announced £8.4 billion pounds for local transport schemes in England over the next five years.