Green fund for councils in local transport white paper

19 Jan 11
Councils are set to receive £560m for green transport projects, ministers have announced.

By Vivienne Russell

19 January 2011

Councils are set to receive £560m for green transport projects, ministers have announced.

The local transport white paper, published today, sets out details of a Local Sustainable Transport Fund that councils will be able to use to encourage take-up of walking and cycling, as well as more use of public transport.

The white paper, Creating growth, cutting carbon, also proposes giving local people the power to start up their own transport schemes and removing bureaucratic burdens on councils. It suggests simplifying councils’ access to transport burdens and giving them the power to decide on road classifications without having to seek Whitehall’s approval.

Launching the white paper, transport minister Norman Baker said: ‘A good transport system is vital in our efforts to deliver two government priorities: to help grow the economy and to reduce carbon emissions. Investment in local sustainable transport can deliver quick gains with both objectives, which is why, even in these difficult financial times, we are providing an unprecedented £560m to take this agenda forward… It’s a win-win for local people and for the country as a whole.’

As was announced in October’s Comprehensive Spending Review, the number of grant streams for local transport is being streamlined, and will be reduced from 30 to 4.

Richard Hebditch, campaign director at the Campaign for Better Transport, warned that the cuts in government support for bus services could undermine the fund's efforts in providing communities with greener transport choices.

Hebditch acknowledged that there were some 'positive plans' in the white paper, but added:  'It reveals that there isn’t a consistent message from government departments about what localism means. In particular, it fails to address the need for local councils to work together to improve transport, and just adds to the confusion over what role local enterprise partnerships will have.'

The Local Government Association said it would be responding in due course.

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