Sunday, 10 July 2011

Local Sustainable Transport Fund Awards

Transport schemes across England, designed to boost economic growth and reduce carbon emissions, have been given the go ahead, thanks to £155 million of Government investment.
39 projects have won funding as part of the first allocation from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. They cover eight regions and a total of 37 local authorities, with many more as partners.
The Sustainable Transport Fund is worth £560 million over the next four years. Each of the initial confirmed projects has been judged as being effective against the fund's two key objectives: creating economic growth and cutting carbon.
The successful schemes include a variety of measures such as smart ticketing, the promotion of infrastructure for electric vehicles, bus and rail improvement measures, cycling and walking. They are measures designed to link together to create a sustainable transport package that delivers economic growth.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said "I'm delighted to be able to fund these excellent projects. All the winning schemes have one thing in common - they will help build strong local economies while addressing the urgent challenge of climate change, We have empowered local authorities to create packages of sustainable initiatives that are tailored for their local areas, and this is only the beginning - even more funding will be announced next summer following a second round of bids.
Last year, Oxford Park & Ride benefited from the Government's Green Bus Funding allowing a fleet of ADL Enviro 400 Hybrids to enter service. The latest funding award will allow further expansion of the Oxford scheme.

Successful bids include:* Oxford, where the council plans to expand the existing park and ride scheme, while introducing a single integrated smart card for car parking, buses and cycle hire.
* Stratford upon Avon, where plans include a new railway station and supporting train services; park and ride bus service enhancement and a walking and cycling facility.
* South Yorkshire, where there are plans to introduce a 'wheels to work' scheme to help those in the most isolated areas get to work by bike, scooter or electric scooter, as well as new cycle infrastructure.
* Lowestoft, where a new swing bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will enable residents and visitors to travel more easily within the town, targeting a specific congestion pinch point.
* Hampshire, where there are plans for a package of measures including car sharing, electric vehicle charging posts and improvement to bus services.
* Plymouth, whose bid to introduce ITSO smart ticketing will support economic growth, reduce carbon and enhance social mobility throughout the South West of England.
An independent panel with expertise in delivering sustainable transport has been appointed to advise Ministers on the bids including representatives from the British Chamber of Commerce, the Campaign for Better Transport and the local authority body ADEPT.
The expert panel said, "We were delighted to see that many local authorities had submitted high quality bids which will deliver economic growth in a low carbon way. We welcome the Department's decision to involve people from outside Government, with a wide range of expertise, in the assessment of the bids. We look forward to seeing the words in the bids transformed into actions on the ground."
The benefits of the investment will also be felt on a national level. Apart from the obvious benefits of supporting economic growth, enabling and encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices will reduce traffic delays, which cost the economy around £11 billion a year in urban areas.
Better and more sustainable public transport will help tackle problems such as air quality and noise, whilst improved cycling and walking infrastructure will help to combat the health problems associated with physical inactivity. 

The scheme provoked criticism from engineering bodies, for offering too little cash and too little emphasis on infrastructure.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said the local transport White Paper was focused too much on non-infrastructure related investment.

David Gambles