£3m carbon cutting funding package announced for Birmingham and Solihull
A £3m package of Birmingham & Solihull transport schemes to boost economic growth and cut carbon was given the green light today (July 10).
The money, from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, will pay for a range of cycling, walking and other public transport initiatives designed to connect people to work, education, training and leisure.
The £2,959,000 funding, which has been awarded to the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, will be used by transport authority Centro and Birmingham and Solihull councils to provide:
- Free travel passes and cycling support for jobseekers
- New cycle storage facilities at railway stations
- Personalised travel support for students, parents and staff at schools
- Bespoke travel support for households and businesses
- Free adult cycle training
- Bus and HGV driver training focussed on vulnerable road users including cyclists
The initiatives will be delivered during 2015-16 and build on Centro’s £50 million, three-year Smart Network, Smarter Choices project which runs until March 2015.
The project involves the creation of new cycle routes, upgrades to traffic junctions and free travel advice for residents.
Schemes will be supported by initiatives announced under Government’s Local Growth Fund earlier this week.
Cllr Kath Hartley, Centro’s vice chair, said: “Our Smart Network, Smarter Choices project has given us a strong foundation but we need to make sure we build on this work and keep supporting Birmingham and Solihull residents in the way they travel.
“This new funding will allow us to continue these schemes which reduce the congestion costing our region more than £2 billion a year, as well as making sure our residents are well connected to jobs, education and training.”
The renewed schemes aim to produce more than 6,000 new cyclists and cut the number of kilometres driven by car by nearly 20 million a year.
The schemes are the result of close collaboration between Centro, Birmingham and Solihull councils and the LEP, which includes local business people and politicians and is tasked with drawing up initiatives that can bring about economic growth and job creation.
The Black Country LEP area also received a £3 million boost as part of the announcement made today.
Andrew Cleaves, GBSLEP Board Director with responsibility for transport, said: “This has been a good week for sustainable transport in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Growth Deal providing substantial funding for a range of projects.
“These projects – for example the extensions to the Midland Metro and the second phase of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution – will not only transform sustainable transport in the LEP but have a real economic benefit.
“This latest announcement further demonstrates how the co-operation between Centro and the local authorities is helping us to access funding to do even more to improve connectivity, reduce congestion and boost our economy.”
Smart Network, Smarter Choices was officially launched at Sandwell Council House last year. Since launching more than 2,500 people have taken part in free cycling activities, more than 7,000 free travel passes have been issued for jobseekers and more than 80,000 of the region’s workforce are benefitting from bespoke travel support.
To find out more about the sustainable transport projects included in the Growth Deal, click here.