We thought it would be useful to provide a summary of the relevant points in the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.
Overall there is a 37% reduction in the DfT's operational budget - among the deepest cuts to any department. However, in capital terms the transport budget increases by 50%, with a focus on Network Rail, roads, highway maintenance and HS2. (Further detail can be found in pages 55-56 of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 document. See the table on page 55 for budget breakdown.)
The above reflects a focus on big projects over everyday transport - a point elaborated upon by Stephen Joseph here.
In terms of the opportunities within 'Sustainable Accessible Travel', we have been provided with the following four points:
1. Through this settlement DfT will provide over £300 million for cycling over the life of this Parliament, which includes continued funding for Bikeability.
2. Funding for Cycle Ambition Cities has been confirmed for the next two years, totalling £101m.
3. There is a new ‘Access’ fund for sustainable travel building on the legacy of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and supporting growth in cycling and walking, with £580 million (£80 million revenue and £500 million capital).
4. The DfT plans to publish the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in summer 2016, with a statement of funds available by February 2016.
This is very good news, as the amount of support is much higher than we expected, and demonstrates the value of programmes like LSTF - albeit with a high emphasis on infrastructure. The £580m budget is slightly higher than the £560m originally provided by LSTF.
Further information will be made available over the coming weeks, and there will be a chance to hear more directly from the DfT on Thursday 28 January at our Annual Conference & AGM (free for members) in London, delayed from 8 December in order to accommodate announcements and dialogue concerning the above.
The link to register is here.