National network trumps rail devolution – Williams

Retaining the benefits of a national rail network must take priority over the devolution of responsibilities to regional and local government, Keith Williams, the chair of the Government’s rail review has said.

Williams said that devolution was the “direction of travel” but that “on every turn I have been keen to emphasise the role of the network over the role of the local or devolved community. One thing that has been made clear to us is that rail needs to operate as a network.”

Council EV chargepoint deals ‘flawed’

Councils in the West Midlands have been exploring the idea of regional electric vehicle chargepoint delivery procurement programme. The work comes amid concern that individual deals struck between councils and charge point operators won’t deliver the network of points needed to support EV growth.

The West Midlands Combined Authority has voiced concern about ‘land grab’ deals being offered to councils by charge point operators. These, says WMCA, can lead to chargepoints being installed only where there is sufficient spare grid capacity and where there is an immediate demand that can deliver short-term profits for the operators.

The CA and councils in the wider West Midlands region have held discussions about a regional procurement.

New grant regime for buses urged

A new grant regime for bus services in England outside London has been proposed by the Campaign for Better Transport.

The public transport lobby group recommends scrapping Bus Service Operators Grant and the funding paid to councils for concessionary fares reimbursement.

In their place it suggests two new funds: a primary funding stream to deliver objectives of the Government’s promised national bus strategy, and a transitional supplementary funding stream of general support to all operators, paid on a per mile basis.

Explore road pricing, climate chief tells Treasury

The Committee on Climate Change has asked the Treasury to investigate road pricing as part of its work to develop a fair funding pathway to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

Road pricing could replace fuel duty, suggests committee chair Lord Deben.

Deben emphasises the need for decarbonisation policies to be carefully designed. “The example of the ‘gilets jaunes’ protest in France is evidence of the importance of getting this right,” he says.

Transport funding available through ‘town deals’

Transport projects could feature in bids by councils to be one of 100 ‘town deals’ in England, with successful applicants eligible for up to £25m.

The Government has just published a prospectus on the Towns Fund, which can support projects covering regeneration, improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

BP invests in MaaS

BP Ventures has invested €10m in Finnish mobility as a service form MaaS Global. The funds will be used to introduce the Whim app-based MaaS product in Singapore and the US.

Young professionals transport competition

England’s Economic Heartland is running a competition for young transport professionals and others who have just joined the profession to suggest how the area’s transport system should develop up to 2050.

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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