Active travel commissioner and inspectorate for England

The Government is to appoint a national walking and cycling commissioner and an active travel inspectorate for England. A long-term active travel budget similar to the five-year budget for Highways England will also be created.

The news comes alongside the announcement of a £250m fund for active travel projects in 2020/21.

Meanwhile, new statutory guidance encourages councils to give active travel modes more space to enable pedestrians and cyclists to social distance.

Bus industry hopes to seal new funding deal for Covid-19 restart

Bus operators hope to reach agreement with the Government this week about a new funding deal to pay for bus service enhancements in England as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Operators say the funding will be necessary to pay the costs of running additional services with social distancing restrictions. Operator First West of England has been trialling double-deckers with just 21 of the 76 seats available for use.

Government fast-tracks e-scooter trials

The Government is to fast-track trials of e-scooter rental schemes, justifying the decision on the basis of needing to give people new ways to travel during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Trials could begin as soon as next month across the UK. They had been due to take place next year in the four designated Future Transport Zones.

Council transport budgets at risk as Covid-19 costs climb

Local authority transport spending is at risk as they grapple with the mounting cost of Covid-19.

The Government has given English councils £3.2bn of emergency Covid-19 aid but authorities say their share of the funding will not cover the additional costs and income losses arising from the virus.

Councils are reviewing revenue and capital spending plans.

Prioritise broadband and active travel over roads, says climate chief

Spending on broadband and active travel should be prioritised over road-building as the economy is rebuilt following Covid-19, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told the Government.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, CCC chairman Lord Deben also hints that road taxation should rise, taking advantage of the current low price of oil.

East-west rail tunnel touted to solve Manchester rail congestion

A new east-west rail tunnel under central Manchester is recommended in a new report published by Greengauge 21.

The railway from Ordsall in Salford to Manchester Piccadilly would relieve pressure on the congested Castlefield corridor between Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly.

End of the road for Oxford’s PickMeUp DRT

Go-Ahead subsidiary the Oxford Bus Company is to withdraw its PickMeUp demand response bus service, the operator saying it has “exhausted all external funding avenues to make it viable”.

Gap between transport tax and spend shrinks

The excess of transport direct tax receipts over public expenditure on transport has shrunk from almost £11bn a year in 2008/09 to about £2bn a year in 2018/19 (constant prices), according to a report published by the RAC Foundation. The analysis of transport tax and spending has been compiled by David Bayliss, a retired director of planning for London Transport.

About the Author

This post was written by Andrew Forster. Andrew Forster edits the fortnightly magazine Local Transport Today, covering transport policy and practice from across the UK. To subscribe to Local Transport Today, click here.

Andrew Forster

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