Transport funding outside London must change says ADEPT

5th June, 2014
Underfunding of transport projects outside London has to stop says Council Directors

ADEPT, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport has today weighed in behind the Transport Committee’s findings that there must be an end to the shortfall in support for the region’s transport infrastructure.

The Association has backed recommendations that there must be a more ‘equitable distribution’ of funding to stop the regions losing out especially in areas where the private sector is not as well equipped as the capital to invest.

Following the publication of the Committee’s report – Local transport expenditure: who decides?  ADEPT, which also provided key evidence to the committee, has shared concerns that an increase in a competitive bidding process leads to an increase in wasted time and expense for hard pressed Local Authorities.

It also has highlighted fears that devolving money through Local Transport Boards and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) has increased complexity and potentially reduced accountability for the allocation of funding transport projects.

Tony Ciaburro, Chair of ADEPT’s Transport Board said: “ADEPT is pleased to see that many of the concerns we raised with the Transport Committee have been reflected in their report.

“The difference in the transport spend per head outside London can not go on. There is a real danger that if the current system is allowed to continue, the regions, particularly all those not set to benefit from HST will fall further and further behind. This would not only have an adverse effect on our hard pressed transport network, but would be harmful to economic growth.”

ADEPT would also like to see more certainty in the allocation of funds so that Local Authorities can concentrate on delivering much needed projects, improvements and maintenance. The Association has also asked for support for Local Authorities if the competitive bidding process is set to continue.

Mr Ciaburro continued: “Local Authorities work closely with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, but when it comes to transport schemes, the LEPs and Local Transport Boards are reliant on the expertise of their Council partners to undertake the preparatory works, put forward bids and ensure compliance and accountability.

“This threefold relationship adds far more complexity to the process and increases the expense and time spent in these preparatory stages that in the current straitened climate Local Authorities can ill afford.

“We would like the government to consider either allocating funding directly through the Local Authorities or to consider establishing a suitable funding stream to support our members in this work.”

This is not the first time that ADEPT has called for a move towards long term planning of critical infrastructure. Earlier in the year, the Association campaigned for a new Government fund to enable swifter emergency responses to flooding.

ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority County, Unitary and metropolitan Directors across England representing members throughout the country.