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Urban Congestion Performance Fund

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

I am today announcing the third tranche of performance-related payments from the Urban Congestion Performance Fund that will see the 10 largest urban areas in England receive a further £19.7 million to study and address the causes of urban congestion.

The Department for Transport has a public service agreement indicator regarding person 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 plan relating to movement on main roads into city centres. The 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.

On 4 February the Department published statistics for 2008-09 for each urban area to replace the provisional estimates that were published in November 2009. These data showed that the average person journey time across all the target routes has improved by 5.5 per cent. between the baseline (which uses a mix of 2004-05 and 2005-06 data) and 2008-09. At the same time the average level of travel fell by 0.8 per cent. across all the target routes.

Based on this performance, the £19.7 million payment will now be shared between the participating areas as below:

Urban Area

Tranche 3 Payments



Greater Manchester


West Midlands


West Yorkshire


South Yorkshire


Tyne & Wear




West of England








In relation to the 2007-08 performance fund payments announced on 23 February 2009, an error was identified in the way that “statistical confidence” is determined. This meant that when London was awarded full funding under tranche 2 (£3.9 million) they should have only been awarded 90 per cent. (£3.51 million). After taking in to consideration the fact that the error was due to the Department and not Transport for London, that London had still only marginally missed the full payment threshold and as the priority of the fund is to identify and tackle the causes of congestion, it has been decided to retain London’s original performance fund allocation of £3.9 million under tranche 2. No other payments to the other urban areas were affected.

The performance fund is worth a total of £60 million over four years, and today’s announcement will have seen a total of £42.6 million paid to the 10 areas. A further £15 million is available in the next financial year, and will also be awarded on a performance basis.