HC Deb 09 February 2001 vol 362 cc725-6W
Mr. Kidney

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that money allocated to local authorities for local transport plans is not transferred to other local authority services. [149172]

Mr. Hill

For 2001–02, the majority of capital funding allocated for local transport will be provided in the form of grant and supplementary credit approvals (SCA) which are ring-fenced for transport.

From 2002–03 the new cross-service single capital pot—which will include a contribution to cover small-scale integrated transport measures and maintenance of local highways and bridges—will be introduced to provide authorities with discretion over the allocation of capital funds across their functional responsibilities. This does not affect the need for authorities to allocate the resources required to deliver their objectives and targets. It does, however, allow them greater flexibility in the use of those resources and will help deliver improved outcomes and better services through more effective tackling of cross-cutting issues. Allocations for major transport schemes costing over £5 million will continue to be provided as grant and SCA and ring-fenced to the particular schemes concerned.

We have now put in place, under the provisions of the Transport Act 2000, a clear statutory duty on authorities to carry out their functions to deliver their local transport plans and we expect them to commit the resources to do so. We are also requiring authorities to monitor their progress against the objectives and targets set in their plans and to provide annual progress reports which we shall take into account in determining annual allocations to authorities.

Mr. Kidney

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the quality of the first round of local transport plans. [149170]

Mr. Hill

It is very encouraging to see the standard and commitment demonstrated by all authorities in completing their full local transport plans (LTPs). Overall, they represent a significant improvement on the provisional plans submitted in July 1999.

The plans demonstrate that authorities are taking forward the Government's integrated transport agenda at the local level, taking full account of the importance of the environment, safety, economy, accessibility and integration. The full LTPs are also increasingly integrated with wider corporate objectives, and recognise the role transport can play in tackling broader local issues such as health and social exclusion.

The commitment many authorities have shown in engaging local partners and communities in finalising their full plans has been particularly impressive, with many undertaking comprehensive and innovative participation exercises.

The plans also illustrate that authorities are aware of the importance of monitoring their performance and are taking steps to ensure that monitoring systems are in place to show how they will achieve their targets and objectives.

Forward to