The smart and sustainable travel community has ‘a job of work’ to do to access funding from the successor to the Local Sustainable Travel Fund (LSTF), a senior Department for Transport (DfT) official has said.
Graham Pendlebury, the DfT’s director of local transport, also said that ‘boosting economic growth and opportunity’, which is one of DfT four strategic objectives, is ‘probably the uber-objective for us’.
The DfT has previously said that its objectives are 'equally important'.
Mr Pendlebury told delegates at a recent industry conference that the Government’s new access fund, which is part of the Local Growth Fund, will be ‘building upon some of the more successful elements of the LSTF’.
He acknowledged that ‘all the transport money that goes into the Local Growth Fund is unringfenced’, explaining that the Government is generally ‘allergic to ring-fencing money’.
But, asked by Transport Network whether ministers’ decision not to ringfence the money to sustainable transport was instead a backward step from the LSTF, he said the Government was ‘pretty confident that this money will get spent on the things that we would like it – and that the minister would very much like it – to be spent on’.
Mr Pendlebury pointed out that the final year of LSTF was also ringfenced, ‘although the Department kept back some revenue funding’.
He said: ‘But the evidence so far shows that actually we get more than our money’s worth in terms of transport schemes that are brought forward by local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) – and that includes sustainable transport schemes as well.
‘But it does mean that there is a job of work for the smarter travel and sustainable travel community to engage with LEPs and local authorities to keep selling the messages about why these are great investments and why they deliver on our agenda on jobs, education, training, skills and so forth. So the areas that the LSTF actually proved was a very effective kind of intervention. So I’m pretty optimistic.’