Sustainable travel being held back by lack of funding

The Local Government Association says that a lack of revenue funding and uncertainty over current levels of funding are the main barriers to councils investing in sustainable travel.

A survey of English councils with responsibilities for transport planning and passenger transport finds that the main barriers stopping councils from doing more to invest in sustainable travel were a lack of funding (87 per cent for cycling/walking and 82 per cent for public transport) and concerns over continued levels of funding (74 per cent for cycling/walking and 79 per cent for public transport).

Despite evidence that cycling and walking initiatives can help reduce obesity and care use, both of which are widely considered to be two of the biggest problems facing society in the UK, extra necessary funding seems a pipe-dream. The LGA believes that councils in England face a funding gap of almost £8 billion by 2025.

 

Judith Blake, Local Government Association Transport spokesperson, said: “Councils are working hard to reduce congestion on our roads and tackle air pollution in our communities. Good air quality is vital for our health and quality of life as well as the environment. Local government has already introduced a number of measures that include encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points, promoting cycling, investing in cleaner buses, managing borough-wide air pollution monitoring networks, pioneering the concept of low-emission zones, planning for new places in ways that improve air quality, and engaging with businesses to increase awareness and reduce their environmental impact.

“However this survey makes clear that significant change is still needed. Uncertainty and a lack of revenue funding are highlighted as clear barriers to investment. The LGA has been calling on the government to provide long term funding certainty as well as to reinvest 2 pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance which would generate £1 billion a year for councils to spend on promoting sustainable travel, reducing congestion and improving roads.”