TfN to review plan against Government’s carbon targets

Transport for the North has committed to review its new strategic transport plan to ensure it contributes to the Committee on Climate Change’s five-year carbon budgets and the Climate Change Act’s 2050 target to greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent against 1990 levels.

TfN will prepare a Pathway to 2050 report next year, which could lead to its investment programme being adjusted.

The commitment follows pressure from environmental campaigners. Writing in this week’s LTT, they outline how they persuaded TfN that it must take account of the Government’s climate change targets, and say other parts of the country will have to follow suit: “If the inclusion of a Committee on Climate Change-compliant carbon pathway has been judged to be a lawful requirement for Transport for the North, then won’t that also be the case for all the other applicants for sub-national transport body status, such as Midlands Connect, Transport for the South West, etc?”

Light rail: good for cities, good for jobs, says DfT

The DfT has issued a call for evidence on opportunities to deliver new light rail and other rapid transit systems in towns and cities in England.

Transport minister Jesse Norma says such systems would not only improve transport networks but could create a new manufacturing industry in the UK.

Suffolk forfeits £77.5m of DfT grant

Suffolk County Council will lose £77.5m of DfT grant after the council scrapped plans for a new road crossing of the River Orwell in Ipswich, saying it is unaffordable.

The Upper Orwell Crossings project was one of two Suffolk road projects awarded grant from the DfT’s Large Local Majors Fund in 2016 – before the Government had even invited councils to submit bids to the fund.

Call to re-open 33 rail lines

A national programme to re-open 33 railway lines across Britain between 2020 and 2035 is being urged by environmental transport group the Campaign for Better Transport.

The report suggests a first phase of openings from 2020 to 2025 largely focusing on introducing passenger services over freight-only lines, with a second phase (2026-2035) concentrating on more complex projects requiring track relaying.

Reliance on buses ‘may hold back city economies’

The economic performance of big cities such as Birmingham may be being hampered by their reliance on buses and their lack of good rail infrastructure.

CityMetric, an offshoot of the New Statesmen magazine, says Birmingham is less productive than almost all similar-sized cities in Europe as well as smaller UK cities such as Edinburgh, Oxford and Bristol.

“Our hypothesis is that Birmingham’s reliance on buses makes its effective population much smaller than its real population. This reduces its productivity by sacrificing agglomeration benefits.”

DfT consults on South East PAYG rail zone

The DfT is consulting on creating a new pay-as-you-go zone for rail travel in the south-east of England.

The proposed scheme boundaries could include: Reading, Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Tring, Luton, Stevenage, Stansted Airport, Southend, Shoeburyness, Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead, Maidstone, Dorking and Guildford.

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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