News - 01 June 2016

Unsuccessful transport bid shows disadvantage of no Devolution deal

An unsuccessful £2.38million joint Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire bid for Government ‘sustainable transport’ funding is being blamed by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership on the counties’ area not having a Devolution Deal.

Nottingham and Derby City Councils, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils, and D2N2 – the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic growth and jobs creation across the authorities’ areas – applied in March (2016) for £2.38million from the Department for Transport (DfT) £20milion ‘Sustainable Travel Transition Year’ fund. The funding is to promote sustainable transport schemes for the 2016/17 financial year to tackle ‘greener’ commuting, promote cycle travel and public transport discount schemes for jobseekers, and reduce carbon emissions.

Despite the authorities and the D2N2 area’s very strong track record in sustainable transport, the recent Government announcement of successful fund bidders revealed the D2N2 area bid – called ‘D2N2 Inspire and Connect’ – would receive no funding.

This does not mean current schemes in the two counties will be cancelled or reduced, but it does mean less additional resource to tackle their future sustainable transport ambitions.

Now the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership has expressed concern that this is just a first example of areas without Devolution Deals being at a disadvantage, when competing for funding and investment with those that do have a Deal.

Like other UK areas, D2N2 has been pursuing a Devolution Deal – its North Midlands Devolution Deal would cover Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – for central Whitehall powers over business financing, transport, planning and other aspects of daily life (and the associated funding) to be devolved to regional control.

A year’s negotiation within the D2N2 LEP area, and between it and Government, has seen the North Midlands Devolution Deal backed by 13 out of 19 local authorities in the area; including Nottingham and Derby City Councils, and Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils.

Neighbouring areas with agreed or nearly agreed Devolution Deals will receive Sustainable Travel Transition Year funding for their proposed schemes, according to last week’s (May 24) Government announcement. For example, Sheffield City Region received £2.5m towards its overall £3million plan, the Birmingham City area got £2.4m towards its £2.8m proposals, Lincolnshire County Council gained £500,000 in DfT funding for its £980,000 scheme, and Bristol City £2.2m for its £8m scheme.

Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Throughout our long championing of the Devolution Deal and the potential benefits it would bring, for businesses and communities, we and our partners said not completing a Deal would put us at a disadvantage in competing with those areas which did have one.

“There’s no pleasure in finding out our fears were correct. I have not given up hope of achieving some form of beneficial Devolution Deal for the D2N2 area but until we do other areas, who have signed a Deal with Government, will continue to be at an advantage when applying for vital investment for their areas.”

A full list of successful bidders for the Government’s Sustainable Travel Transition Year funding can be found at web link www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-travel-transition-year-2016-to-2017-successful-bidders

More information on the North Midlands Devolution Deal can be found at its website at www.northmidlands.org.uk

For further information about this media release contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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