Money relates to 2015/16 year - but maximum bid amount of £1 million is much smaller than before

Local transport authorities in England (outside London) have been invited to bid for a share of £78.5 million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) to boost the number of journeys made using public transport, cycling and walking – but the amounts available are much smaller than before.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced guidelines on the operation of the LSTF 2015 to 2016 competition last Monday 23 December.

Among them is one that reminds bidders of Prime Minister David Cameron’s committing the government last August “to bring about a step change in levels of cycling including encouraging local authorities to 'cycle proof' roads.

“Sustainable transport bids with a strong focus on walking and cycling will be viewed favourably as these can play an important part of supporting economic growth and town centres as well as improving the health and quality of life of local communitiesm," it adds.

The maximum amount local authorities can bid for relating to 2015/16 is £1 million (plus local match funding).

Projects cannot begin until April 2015 – the month before the next general election is due – and the money must be spent by March 2016.

The maximum amount available to individual bidders is much less than that previously available under the LSTF, established in 2011 with total funding of £600 million through to 2015.

Last year, for example, half a dozen schemes in areas including Greater Manchester and Bristol were awarded funding of £20 million or more and many others benefited by much more than the £1 million that will be available this time round.

Referring to the 2015/16 bidding, Baroness Kramer, minister of state at the DfT, said:  “We have seen some real success stories from previous winning schemes so I am looking forward to considering the plans that are put forward.

“Earlier successful schemes addressed a variety of sustainable transport measures and we saw significant changes in the way people travelled as a result. The improvements the schemes generated have given people more options to make healthier and greener transport choices.

“In the new year I will be inviting local transport authorities to start preparing and developing their proposals,” she added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.