Wednesday, 16 July 2014

£3m carbon cutting funding package announced for Birmingham and Solihull

A £3 million package of Birmingham and Solihull transport schemes to boost economic growth and cut carbon was given the green light last week.

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 funding, which has been awarded to the Greater Birmingham and 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 and bike maintenance activities
  •          Bus and HGV driver training focussed on vulnerable road users including cyclists
In Solihull, there will be particular focus on provision for the growing businesses around the NEC, airport and Birmingham Business Park area known as the UK Central hub. This will include an employer support package of cycling advice, promotion and events, ticketing offers and an accreditation scheme. In addition to this, funding will be made available to support a Brompton bike hire and cycle parking hub pilot scheme at the heart of the UK Central area.
The initiatives will be delivered during 2015/16 and will 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.
The renewed programme aims to produce more than 6,000 new cyclists and cut the number of kilometres driven by car by nearly 20 million a year. 
Councillor Ted Richards, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways said: "The importance of this funding in terms of the benefits it will bring to Solihull residents really cannot be understated. Its welcome improvements to sustainable transport infrastructure and travel support will allow us to build on the great progress we have already made with our existing travel and transport strategies and contribute to the increased well-being of communities and businesses in terms of economic growth and quality of life."

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.

Since the launch of the Smart Network, Smarter Choices programme more than 2,500 people have taken part in free cycling activities so far, more than 7,000 free travel passes have been issued for jobseekers and more than 80,000 of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull region’s workforce are benefitting from bespoke travel support.

For further information please contact:
Alex Hemming,
Tel: 0121 704 8172

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