£560 transport fund urges councils to go green

A £560 million fund to encourage local councils to "go green" on transport was announced today by the Government.

The money in the local sustainable transport fund was part of a local transport White Paper which urged greater use of buses and trains and more walking and cycling.

Launching the White Paper, Transport Minister Norman Baker said he was particularly keen to see people walk, cycle or take public transport for journeys of less than five miles.

He said the Government was providing funding for cycle training for children and also planned to ensure that most public transport journeys would be undertaken by smart ticketing by the end of 2014.

Also, the Government was reviewing traffic signs policy to allow local councils more freedom to reduce the number of signs they put up.

Entitled Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon, the White Paper is aimed at:

:: Cutting red tape for councils while cutting carbon;

:: Getting "quick wins" locally by investing in smaller scale schemes to help create jobs;

:: Giving local people more power over initiating innovative transport schemes in their own areas to better meet local needs.

Mr Baker said: "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.

"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."

He went on: "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."

AA president Edmund King said: "This £560 million fund is an example of the localism and the Big Society in action. Local people often know what will work best in their communities.

"However, local safety schemes and encouraging volunteers to take part in Big Society activities still requires core funding and professional involvement. Green transport funds should not be used as a green smokescreen to cut local transport and safety funding."