The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a one-year £20m fund to help councils support sustainable and accessible travel projects.
The Sustainable Travel Transition Year Revenue Competition follows the end of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which ran from 2011-2015.
Councils are being invited to bid for a share of the £20 million funding for 2016/17.
Stephen Joseph: 'Projects like these offer good value for money'
The DfT said the money will help local authorities who want to continue a sustainable transport project that has proven successful in the past, or to progress plans to improve access to jobs, skills, training and education.
The fund will also favour schemes that focus on cycling and walking, following the Tory manifesto commitments to double cycling and reduce the numbers of cyclists killed or seriously injured.
The DfT said it is looking for ‘highly deliverable', “ready to go” schemes’. It has published a guidance document, an application form, and a proforma for local councils to provide a value for money assessment of proposed projects.
Individual transport authorities can bid for between £350,000 and £500,000 while consortia of two or more authorities and other partners can bid for up to £2.5m.
The money is part of a total £580m for sustainable travel that chancellor George Osborne announced in the autumn statement, of which £80m was revenue funding.
The DfT said it will launch a new £60m Access Fund this summer to provide further support for sustainable and accessible travel projects from 2017-2018.
It said the transition period will give it time to publish the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), to work with the Department of Communities and Local Government to understand the future approach for the Local Growth Fund, and to identify the highest value for money approach to supporting investment in sustainable travel.
This approach was chosen following consultation with stakeholders, including local transport authorities and organisations such as the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of CBT, said: ‘We welcome this announcement and the £20m available to local authorities, but believe much more is needed. Projects like these offer good value for money, tackling local traffic by giving people good alternatives in how they travel. We are glad that the Government is introducing this fund, which we suggested, and is seeking to keep good projects going in the short-term.
‘However, £20m is tiny compared with the billions going on road building and we would like the Department for Transport to consider upgrading it and rebalancing transport spending so that these kinds of projects get the funding they deserve.’