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Statement to Parliament: Department for Transport: departmental update, 31 October 2019

Department For Transport

October 31
13:20 2019

Transport plays a critical part in all our lives and is central to some of the biggest issues thecountry faces, including decarbonisation, growing our economy and uniting the country. I wouldlike to update the House on key recent achievements by the Department for Transport.

Rail

Launched the Williams Rail Review in September 2018 to look at the structure of the whole rail industry, including increasing integration between track and train, regional partnerships,and improving value for money for users and taxpayers.

Invested record levels in the railway between 2014 and 2019, with over 40 billion being spenton enhancing, renewing, and maintaining the network. 15 billion of this was spent on enhancingthe railway. This included:

Capacity enhancement projects such as additional platforms, for example at Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester airport stations; and rail line capacity upgrades, such as resignalling between Plymouth and Penzance, and four-tracking on the Filton Bank in Bristol.

Completing major infrastructure upgrades as part of the Thameslink Programme in December 2018, creating 24 train paths per hour between Blackfriars and St Pancras, including readiness for digital signalling and automatic trains.

Opening new routes such as the reinstatement of the Halton curve, which enables passenger services from North Wales and West Cheshire to directly access Liverpool City Centre and airport for the first time in more than 40 years.

Electrification of the Great Western Mainline between London and Cardiff (due to be completed early in 2020).

Over 4,300 additional rail services per week have been introduced since May 2018.

Confirmed 47.9 billion is available for the railway between 2019 and 2024. This spending will be targeted on operations, maintenance and renewals to deliver a modern, reliable service for passengers across the network.

450 million committed to digital rail as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund at Autumn Statement 2016.

Rail fares

Cancelled above-inflation (RPI) rail fare rises every year since 2014.

Introduced the new 26 to 30 Rail Card in January 2019, allowing 4.5 million young people to travel by train for less, and launched the new 16 & 17 Railcard which from September 2019 will give up to 1.2 million young people a guaranteed 50% discount on rail travel.

Introduced the Delay Repay 15 scheme in 2016 which allows passengers to claim compensation when trains are more than 15 minutes late.

Over 8,000 new railway carriages have been ordered since 2010.

More than 80% of passenger rail vehicles by summer 2019 now have on-train wifi available.

We have committed to Northern Powerhouse Rail and are working with Transport for the North on proposals to improve the rail network across the North.

In August 2019, launched an independent review into HS2 to advise the government on whether and how to proceed with the project. The review is ongoing.

Regional and devolution

Through the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2017, created new powers to put Sub-national Transport Bodies (STBs) on a statutory footing. Transport for the Norths status was enshrined in law in April 2018.

As part of the Northern Powerhouse:

Established Transport for the North, bringing together northern transport authorities with the task of working with government to create the first ever comprehensive transport strategy for the region, covering roads, rail, freight, airports and smart ticketing.

Committed record investment of over 13 billion in the strategic roads, local roads and rail infrastructure of the North between 2015 and 2020.

Local transport

Established a new 2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund, with funding announced at autumn budgets in 2017 and in 2018. Allocated 1.08 billion of the Transforming Cities Fund to the 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities. 1.3 billion is being made available competitively to 12 shortlisted cities. Initial funding for quick win transport projects in the initial shortlisted cities was allocated in March 2019.

Announced in September 2019 that 14 Major Road Network and Large Local Major schemes will go forward for further development. These included the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway renewal and the A140 Long Stratton Bypass in Norfolk. On 18 October 2019 the York Outer Ring Road became the first MRN scheme to be granted programme entry.

Around 1.7 billion has been awarded so far for 13 schemes through 2018 and 2019 from MHCLGs Housing Infrastructure Fund. These include delivery of significant new transport infrastructure, with 102 million towards delivering the Carlisle Southern Link Road, and 218 million towards a bypass and new bridges for the Didcot Garden Village.

In December 2018, published the results of a consultation on the creation of the Major Road Network, which brought over 5,000 miles of local authority A roads into scope for new funding from the National Roads Fund.

Between 2011 and 2019, approved 74 major local transport schemes with over 2.3 billion of funding such as the extension of Nottingham Tram, Heysham to M6 Link Road and the A43 Corby bypass; and the Preston Western Distributor Road.

Played a key part in the setting up of the Local Growth Fund, and made a contribution of over 7 billion to the 12 billion total, which devolved real spending decisions to Local Enterprise Partnerships and prioritised over 500 transport schemes through Growth Deals in 3 funding rounds in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Allocated a record level of funding of over 6.6 billion to local authorities for local road maintenance in the period 2015-21, including a dedicated Pothole Action Fund.

Buses

Launched the Better deal for bus users in September 2019, a 220 million package to boost bus services. This includes trialling a new superbus network approach to deliver low fares, high frequency services in Cornwall, expanding our fleet of low emission buses with an all-electric bus town, funding to enable local authorities to improve current bus services or to restore lost services, and investment in bus priority measures in the West Midlands.

Committed 48 million to fund 263 zero emission buses in 2019.

Supported local authority spending of around 1 billion per year on concessionary bus travel, enabling older and disabled people to make free off-peak bus journeys and helping them stay more connected to their communities and social surroundings.

Cycling

Government spending on cycling and walking has increased to around 2 billion over the 2016 to 2017-2020 to 2021 Spending Review period.

Invested over 40 million in the Cycle Rail programme since 2012 which has tripled the number of cycle parking spaces at over 500 stations, bringing the total to over 80,000.

Invested 22 million in 33 new and upgraded cycle routes on the National Cycle Network thisyear.

Launched a 2 million e-cargo bike grant programme in February 2019 to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes.

Announced a further 13 million in the Bikeability training for school children in October 2018, to extend the scheme into 2020 to 2021. In the year up to April 2019, around 400,000 children completed the scheme.

Secured funding through the Cycle City Ambition programme to improve cycling infrastructure in 8 cities to get more people cycling by improving and expanding cycle routes between the city centres, local communities, and key employment and retail sites.

Published the first ever statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in April 2017.

Strategic roads and safety

Made good progress in delivering the first Road Investment Strategy. At the end of the fourth year of the Strategy (March 2019), Highways England had started work on 28 schemes, in addition to the 16 schemes where works were ongoing at the start of the strategy; opened 29 schemes for traffic; and had 15 schemes in construction.

Ended tolls on the Severn Crossing in December 2018.

Announced that a second Roads Investment Strategy will start in April 2020 with a record funding allocation of 25.3 billion from the National Roads Fund.

Produced a refreshed Road Safety Statement in 2019 with a 2 year action plan for 4 priority road user groups:

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