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Road Traffic: Schools

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of her Department’s spending has been devoted to measures to reduce the amount of traffic generated by the school run in each of the last five years. (164630)

The development of measures to reduce the amount of traffic generated by the school run does not fall neatly into boxes that enable us to say what proportion of the Department’s spending has been devoted to these in each of the last five years. This is because, in addition to the expenditure on centrally managed programmes, a considerable amount of expenditure is committed by local highway authorities that receive funding from the Department through the Local Transport Plan (LTP) settlement and determine their own priorities.

The Mayor of London also receives funding from the Department via a total transport grant through Transport for London (TfL) and bus operators receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which makes bus services cheaper. The DfT integrated block element of the LTP settlement was worth £547 million in 2006-07, while TfL received £2.4 billion and bus service operators received £380 million in BSOG.

In addition we can, however, identify the amount of funding allocated for regional and local authority school travel advisers through the “Travelling to School” project, for ‘Links to Schools’ and for other initiatives such as ‘Bike It’ that promote and support cycling to school. (Prior to April 2004, the Department awarded a number of bursaries to local authorities to enable them to employ school travel plan co-ordinators rather than school travel advisers.) The levels of expenditure in each of the last five years are shown as follows:

£ million

Regional and LASTAs

‘Links to schools’

Bike it

2002-03

1.935

2003-04

1.935

2004-05

3.75

10

2005-06

3.75

2

0.3

2006-07

3.75

4.2

0.312

We know that local authorities spent the following amounts of funding received through their LTP settlement on providing ‘Safe Routes to School’. The figure for 2006-07 has still to be audited.

£ million

‘Safe routes to school’

2002-03

27.737

2003-04

24.33

2004-05

26.319

2005-06

25.398

2006-07

19.457

This provides only a partial picture. Other funding allocated to local authorities through the LTP settlement will have been allocated to measures that will contribute to reducing traffic generated by the school run but they are not designed solely for this purpose. Examples will include other road safety and traffic calming schemes, road maintenance and cycle lanes.