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Road Congestion

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

In a statement to the House on 5 July 2005 the then Secretary of State for Transport announced that we were prepared to ensure that up to £200 million a year would be available from the transport innovation fund to support the development of local packages of measures that combine demand management, including road pricing, and better public transport. He also announced that we would make £18 million of pump-priming development funding available to support scheme development.

So far, 10 areas have benefited from this funding. This has enabled them to analyse their current and emerging congestion issues and consider how demand management could form part of the solution. While we never expected every one of these areas to come forward with formal proposals straight away, I have been greatly encouraged by the work to date and thank those areas who have contributed to the debate. Already proposals have been submitted by Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire, which we are currently assessing, and I understand that further proposals will be coming forward in the coming year or two.

We want to give more areas the opportunity to benefit from such packages. Therefore I am extending the commitment to make available up to £200 million a year out to 2018-19, in line with our long-term funding profile for transport. To support the development of business cases we shall be inviting authorities to bid for further pump-priming development funding for 2008 and 2009. We shall also make available development funding to areas that have submitted business cases to contribute to continued development during the assessment process and, where appropriate, for preparatory costs incurred after programme entry. Guidance on bidding for this funding is being published today. Copies of the guidance are available from the Department for Transport (DfT) web site and in the Library of the House.

Meanwhile, my officials are working closely with officials from Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire and we will announce decisions on the proposals as soon as we can. Decisions on congestion TIF business cases will be the responsibility of the Minister of State, Department for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Rosie Winterton).

I am also publishing today to the Library of the House, and on the DfT website, the results of a feasibility study which explores where advanced signalling and traffic management systems could best be used on congested parts of the motorway network, and the associated environmental, safety and enforcement considerations.