The government commitment to spending on infrastructure and levelling up across the regions has been welcomed by Peninsula Transport at its Board meeting on 4 December.

Chairman, Councillor Geoff Brown, said: “We warmly welcome the government’s commitment through the National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS). Investment is critical to the SW economy whether it is on rail, roads, ports, airports, broadband upgrades or charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.  

“We are also greatly encouraged by the commitment of the government to Sub National Transport Bodies (STBs) and the £425,000 of funding agreed with Department for Transport for our strategic transport work this year.  However as always we await the detail on some of the wider spending announcements just to see how much benefit they will provide for the Peninsula”

Clear commitments to the SW and Peninsula include:

  • £82 million for the Transforming Cities Fund programme in the South West
  • Over £7 million of funding for a new station at Edginswell in Torbay
  • Confirmation that rail links will be restored to Okehampton in Devon
  • Funding to develop proposals through the ‘Restoring Your Railways’ programme including proposed new stations at Wellington & Cullompton and in the Langport / Somerton area (Castle Cary to Taunton) and funding to improve services between Truro and Falmouth

Highlights which may support the Peninsula from the government’s spending review include:

  • A package of Covid-19 support to keep critical transport links available, including an agreement that the Treasury will absorb risks associated with rail passenger revenue.
  • £4 billion Levelling Up Fund, including up to £600m in 2021/22, with the additional funding spread over the remaining years to 2023/24 with details on bidding due in the New Year.
  • £27.5 billion for England’s Strategic Roads.
  • £1.7 billion for potholes and local road upgrades including £310m for the major road network and large local major schemes programmes.
  • £420 million bus funding (£120m for zero emission buses and £300m for recovery & transformation). 
  • £257 million cycling and walking funding
  • Continuation of the Plug-in Car, Van, Taxi and Motorcycle Grants until 2022-23
  • £20 million in 2021-22 to enable a UK network of technology demonstrations in alternative marine fuels and green shipbuilding
  • £21 million for the decarbonisation of aviation

The government has also announced a Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. A  key measure within it is the investment of £1.3 billion in charging infrastructure to accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) ahead of ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Cllr Brown added: “We also are really pleased to see that the Department for Transport is now seeking views on The Future of Transport: Rural Strategy. It is so important for our rural communities that their transport needs are considered and we will be making strong representation on this. We also welcome the news on £60M funding for the North Devon Link Road.”