Local transport decisions to be made locally

But will local decision makers ignor walking, cycling and planning for the long term?

by Sarah Barth   September 18, 2012  

Norman Baker.jpg

Decisions for funding transport schemes 'that have a significant impact on people’s daily lives' will be taken at a local level, Transport Minister Norman Baker has confirmed today.

Future funding will be allocated locally according to population, allowing priorities to be decided by newly established Local Transport Bodies which will be made up of local transport authorities, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and others with a key interest.

Sustrans has cautiously welcomed the move, warning that sustainable transport alternatives including cycling should be considered alongside road-building projects.

Policy Director Jason Torrance said: “We welcome moves that allow communities to play a greater role in deciding local transport spending and infrastructure, but any changes must also reflect the long-term needs of the nation as a whole, including using effective alternatives to expensive and damaging road construction.

“Government needs ensure that low cost and better value options, including walking, cycling and public transport schemes, are considered on a level playing field. There is a risk that local transport schemes will ignore wider priorities, including the need to reduce carbon emissions.”

It's not yet clear what the priorities will be for the Local Transport Bodies. In an earlier written statement, Norman Baker wrote:

Transport is vitally important to local economies, and new infrastructure can provide the missing links that are often so crucial in getting economies moving and creating opportunities for new investment and employment...

I fully support the key objective of removing Whitehall from the process of making decisions on which local schemes should or should not go ahead. However we have a responsibility to ensure that the new local decision makers have arrangements in place to achieve the value for money that we know the right schemes can deliver and to take account of other important factors such as environmental impact. Most respondents accepted the need for robust local assurance frameworks and we will shortly publish detailed guidance on this, to enable local areas to submit their draft frameworks by December.

Today he said: “We want decisions on new transport infrastructure to be made more efficiently, and at a more local level than has previously been the case.

“While it is right for the Government to look at the big picture and co-ordinate schemes with a national impact, there is no substitute for local knowledge.

"That is why we want to make sure that important decisions affecting the future of towns and cities across England are made by those who best understand the specific issues facing their communities.”

4 user comments

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Is that the 'level playing field' that's been sold for housing? Big Grin

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
18th September 2012 - 17:27

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By and large, leaving decisions to local government is not good news - county councils and boroughs are more stuffed with Mr Toads even than Westminster.

Unless it is done like education - local decisions but underpinned by strict minimum standards for cycle paths - we can expect more roads and car parks and fewer buses, footpaths or cycle racks.

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
18th September 2012 - 21:17

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Where I live government money disappears into new departments with a director and staff, directors all highly paid, what is then left for the 'project'is so minimal that the shout, 'lack of funding' goes up. Big pots of money attract sticky fingers.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1016 posts]
19th September 2012 - 8:01

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Having just done a walk about representing local cyclists with a council officer in charge of cycling infrastructure in my locality and two highways engineers I have a bit on an insight into why our roads are so rubbish.
Firstly having established a feature is dangerous and needs removing to prevent drivers squashing cyclists into the side of the road, they then told me that if they improve it, they will loose the funding they need to re-do the whole road in 2014. Apparently they submit roads they think need improvement but if they do any maintenance to improve things short term they don't get the long term work approved. So they leave them looking as bad as possible for a few years in the hope it gets a re-vamp.
They agreed it needed doing and then said there was no way they would touch it with a lead lined barge pole for fear of loosing funding to do the whole road.
We desperately need legislation that means councils have to consult cyclists and put in cycling provision when ever they do anything to the public highway. If they did this we would have some semblance of cycle infrastructure within about a decade.

posted by Belaroo [44 posts]
19th September 2012 - 15:17

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