Birmingham’s plan to delay NO2 compliance ‘may be illegal’

Birmingham City Council’s proposal to delay the expected date for complying with EU nitrogen dioxide limits could be illegal, the lawyers who dragged the Government through the courts on air quality, have said.

Birmingham plans to introduce a Class D Clean Air Zone in the city centre in 2020, covering cars, taxis, vans, buses and lorries. But the council acknowledges that a package of exemptions and mitigations to soften the pain of charges will delay some streets complying with legal limits until 2021 and 2022.

ClientEarth told LTT the High Court’s ruling against the Government on air quality had made it “very clear” that reducing pollution should be the primary objective of any action plans.

New transport plans for Greater Manchester

New roads, bus rapid transit, tram-trains, and light rail extensions all feature in a new spatial plan for Greater Manchester published for consultation this week.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is pressing the Government to agree a new transport fund for the conurbation, following on from the first Greater Manchester Transport Fund that has delivered a major expansion of the Metrolink system.

Bus and road charging powers for TfSE?

Shadow sub-national transport body Transport for the South East (TfSE) is consulting member authorities on whether it should hold bus and road charging powers. TfSE may request the powers as part of its application to become a statutory Sub-national Transport Body, which should be submitted to ministers this autumn.

Whitehall’s high staff turnover ‘undermining policy delivery’

The DfT lost about 17 per cent of its headquarters staff in 2017/18, the fourth highest turnover of all Whitehall departments, according to a report by the Institute for Government.

The think tank says Whitehall’s open internal jobs market and pay restrictions encourage civil servants to frequently switch jobs, undermining the delivery of programmes and policies.

DfT ‘unfit to lead active travel policy’

The DfT should not lead on active travel policy but instead should be the delivery arm for other client departments, says the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

PACTS has told the House of Commons transport committee that the DfT struggles to orchestrate cross-departmental activities because it is “not a powerful department”. It suggests the DfT should be the Government’s delivery arm for active travel, working on behalf of other departments, such as health, education, and communities and local government.

Ministers urged to investigate land value capture mechanisms

The Urban Transport Group is urging the Government to prepare a discussion paper on land value capture mechanisms for funding new transport infrastructure.

The UTG’s report on transit-oriented development identifies options such as the development rights auction model, stamp duty and land tax retention, and a land value capture charge.

Councils prepare bids to £675m high street fund

Councils in England are preparing bids to the first round of the Government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund.

Transport schemes are eligible for support from the fund, which is managed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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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