Nottingham has made the most of a Government fund to improve travel options which came to an end last week (March 31).
The city and surrounding area has benefited from £16.4m of Local Sustainable Transport (LSTF) funding over the last five years. It has been used to help local people connect to jobs and services and support the local economy through promoting greater use of sustainable travel choices such as walking, cycling and public transport.
As this funding stream was switched off, a transition fund was made available by the Department for Transport which the City Council has led a bid for. If successful, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire will benefit from £1.875m to continue on projects and services such as discounted public transport travel, cycle loans, free cycle training for young people and jobseekers, advice for businesses, personal travel planning and continuing the Citycard Cycle Hire scheme.
Nottingham City Council, working with Nottinghamshire County Council, the Greater Nottingham Transport Partnership (GNTP), Sustrans and public health (formerly NHS Nottingham City), delivered a range of projects through LSTF which have benefited local residents and businesses with taking up sustainable travel. This resulted in:
- An extra 919 people being supported into work
- Over 325,000 bus trips generated and a net increase of 66,234 public transport trips
- More than 87,400 people changed cycle behaviour generating 1.4m extra cycling trips and 2,824 more people cycling regularly
- A total of 63,288 people changed walking behaviour, with 1.6m extra walking trips and 2.3m more kilometres walked.
Overall this has resulted in 2.18m fewer car trips, 28.4m fewer car kilometres travelled and 23,529 fewer tonnes of CO2 emitted.
As well as bidding for this year’s transition funding, Nottingham has secured funding from the Youth Employment Initiative programme for a Nottingham Works programme which will enable the continuation of the successful employability support services developed through the LSTF. This will include provision of a jobseeker travel offer for 18-29 years olds until 2018.
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “It is a real shame that the LSTF funding has finished. However, we have been very successful in what we have delivered especially within sustainable transport and Low Carbon initiatives agendas.
“The City Council has demonstrated its ability to deliver these types of initiatives if more funding is made available.
“Ultimately, we believe we have the right strategy in Nottingham to develop a low carbon transport strategy, focussing on green forms of transport, such as trams, cycling, and electric buses, and Government – DEFRA in particular – has been very vocal about our need to do more to reduce air pollution and promote green travel. We are happy to do more, but we can’t do it without adequate funding, and the removal of LSTF is therefore a backward step, and highlights the degree to which this Government is not coordinated on this issue.”