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Urban Congestion Performance Fund

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

I am today announcing adjustments to the second payment tranche for the urban congestion performance fund. This follows the statement on 23 February 2009 when the 10 largest urban areas in England received £10.7 million to study and address the causes of urban congestion.

My Department has a Public Service Agreement indicator regarding journey time on main roads into urban areas. The indicator states that by 2010-11 the 10 largest urban areas in England will meet the congestion targets set in their local transport plans relating to movement on main roads into city centres. The national indicator will be deemed to have been met if, on target routes in these areas, an average increase in travel of 4.4 per cent. is accommodated with an average increase of 3.6 per cent. in person journey time per mile.

The publication of the “Transport Statistics Bulletin, Road Statistics 2008: Traffic, Speeds and Congestion”, on 25 June 2009 included revised performance data for the urban congestion indicator for the academic year 2007-08.

The overall national data now shows that the average person journey time across all the target routes has improved by 3.1 per cent. between the baseline (using 2004-05 and 2005-06 data) and 2007-08. The original announcement in February stated that it was a fall of 3.0 per cent. At the same time the average level of travel fell by 2.7 per cent. across all the target routes, whereas the original published figure was 3.3 per cent.

The individual data have also been adjusted for a number of areas. Based on this revised performance data, the West Midlands will now receive the modified payments as detailed in the table:

Urban Area

Original Tranche 2 payment announced on 23 February 2009

Revised Tranche 2 payment

West Midlands

£1,064,645

£1,216,738

Leicester’s performance data have also been adjusted from a fall in journey time of 0.1 per cent. to an increase of 1.1 per cent., but this is still better than their trajectory target. As the priority of the performance fund is to enable the urban areas to identify and tackle the causes of congestion, it has been decided to retain Leicester’s original performance fund allocation of £361,226. No other area had a significant change in their performance data for 2007-08.

The performance fund is worth a total of £60 million over four years, and today’s announcement will have seen a total of £22.9 million paid to the 10 areas. A further £35 million is available over the next two financial years, and will also be awarded on a performance basis.