Green growth gets £113 million transport boost

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The local schemes may provide national benefits by supporting economic growth and encouraging sustainable travel

30 local transport schemes aimed at delivering economic growth and reducing carbon emissions were given the green light on May 24 by Transport Minister Norman Baker.

The projects have won funding totalling £113m as part of the second allocation from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. They are led by 29 English local authorities with many more as partners and cover eight regions.

The successful schemes include a variety of measures including improving sustainable transport options for commuters, creating public transport hubs, building better cycling infrastructure and even providing a new ferry service.

The schemes to be funded include Smarter Travel Slough which will reduce congestion on main roads in the rush hour by increasing the use of walking, cycling and public transport; Walk to School Outreach which sees Durham County Council working with national charity Living Streets and eight other councils to reduce congestion and improve health through exercise; Travel Torbay Regeneration Project delivers a new fast ferry service between Torbay and Brixham which will see journey times cut by half, a new cycle route to encourage more low carbon journeys and a supporting package of employer based travel planning to help increase use of public transport; Access to Jobs, Training and Services in Stafford aims to reduce congestion at peak times in Stafford by improving access to walking, cycling and public transport. People will be encouraged to reconsider their travel habits through offers of discounted bus travel and a new mobile cycle centre providing cyclists with information and advice as well as selling reconditioned bikes.

Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism on the Isle of Wight will improve the island’s sustainable transport network to support its bid to become a leading destination for green tourism. This includes the provision of transport hubs and easily-accessible live travel information to help visitors and local people plan their journeys. Walking and cycling routes will also receive a boost.

Also, all the schemes for which funding has been confirmed are receiving contributions from the local council or the private sector. In total, the £113m provided by DfT is allowing more than double that amount to be invested.

The projects are designed to reduce delays on the roads in urban areas, which reportedly cost around £11 billion a year. They also help tackle problems such as poor air quality and improved cycling and walking infrastructure will help to improve the health of the nation.

Norman Baker said: “The schemes we are funding today will benefit communities from Devon to Durham by cutting carbon emissions, reducing congestion and stimulating economic growth in these areas. By investing in these projects we are signalling our commitment to green growth which will help to kick-start economic activity in local areas.”