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Local Authorities get massive funding increase in UK Government's sustainable transport strategy

UK Local Authorities are set to receive an unprecedented £560 million (US$895 million) funding boost for sustainable transport projects, in order to help create economic growth and reduce carbon emissions. Full details of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund are published in a Government white paper entitled, Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon, which aims to encourage greater use of public transport and more walking and cycling. Among the aims of the strategy – which sets out a vision for local solutions that will have a national impact – are cutting red tape for councils, while cutting carbon emissions, getting quick wins locally, by investing in smaller-scale schemes to help create jobs, and giving local people more power over initiating innovative transport schemes in their own areas, to better meet local needs.

There are a number of key measures in the white paper, including a Local Sustainable Transport Fund to address the urgent challenges of building economic growth and tackling climate change, as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity. Another measure centers on commitment to work with the transport industry to support the development of e-purses and other technology related to smart ticketing, as well as to deliver – with operators and public sector bodies – the infrastructure to enable most local public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by December 2014. Further incentivization of integrated ticketing, to deliver easier end-to-end journeys using public transport was also recommended, as was a reduction in the bureaucratic burdens on Local Authorities by simplifying access to transport funding. Councils would also be allowed to decide on road classifications, without going through central government, while at the same time simplifying the regulations for introducing new road signs.

“A good transport system is vital in our efforts to deliver two key government priorities – to help grow the economy and to reduce carbon emissions,” commented Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport. “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 £560 million to take this agenda forward. We are clear you can have your green cake and eat it. Money invested wisely in local transport initiatives can both help the economy and cut carbon. It’s a win-win for local people and for the country as a whole. I look forward to working with Local Authorities and others as we take on this challenge and believe together we can make genuinely sustainable transport a reality for everyone.”
 

January 21, 2011

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