On the road to a local green transport revolution?
Friends of the Earth welcomed Local Transport Minister Norman Baker's announcement that the coalition Government will introduce a Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
We’ve been campaigning for two years for just such a fund.
The announcement was made at the Liberal Democrats' party conference in Liverpool.
Friends of the Earth also received a letter from Norman Baker MP in response to the thousands of emails our activists sent calling for more local sustainable transport.
Under these proposals, local councils outside London will be able to bid for money for sustainable transport projects. These could include Smarter Travel Choices schemes that encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport instead of their cars.
When piloted in three English towns in 2004-08 such schemes cut car trips by 9% and boosted walking, cycling and bus use.
The Committee on Climate Change was so impressed it called for a national roll-out. It estimates this would save 2.9 million tonnes of emissions a year. That’s seven times the maximum savings from the high-speed rail line to Birmingham.
Will the fund deliver?
But Ministers haven’t yet announced the details of the fund. These will be confirmed after the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20 October.
We're continuing to campaign to ensure there is the right sort of funding to enable these schemes to happen.
Smarter Travel Choices schemes are relatively low cost and excellent value for money.
The fund must be at least £300 million per year. It must be able to support capital projects like new cycle lanes and revenue projects like the wages of a school travel plan officer.
Ministers must also ensure that funding for sustainable transport like buses and rail is protected in the spending review by cutting spending on damaging, expensive road schemes.
You can help with our campaign.
Please tell Ministers that this new fund is welcome but that it must be adequately resourced.