2 December 2010

Julian Smith (Conservative, Skipton and Ripon) aAsked what steps the Secretary of State for Transport is taking to encourage sustainable local travel.

 Philip Hammond (Conservative, Transport Secretary) asserted the Government’s commitment to a £500 million local sustainable transport fund, which would be introduced in a White Paper next month. Mr Smith was concerned about the future of local bus services in rural communities. Replying, the Minister stressed that Local Authorities could put bids into the fund. He added that the guidance of the funding would protect local bus services.

 Lilian Greenwood (Labour, Nottingham South) asked what recent discussions the Secretary of State has had with Local Authority leader on the future of funding for major Local Authority transport schemes.

 Philip Hammond stressed that officials had written to all Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

 Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley and Broughton) argued that investment in regional cities required additional funding, in order to close the North – South divide.

 Mr Hammond said a consultation would be launched in the New Year for high-speed rail 2 (HS2), a project which would strategically close the North – South gap.

 Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) stressed that improved productivity was needed in the North through schemes such as the Northern Hub and noted that needed regional and Government support.

 Mr Hammond affirmed that Network Rail is considering a Northern Hub.

 David Rutley (Conservative, Macclesfield) asked when impacts from high-speed rail 2 for the Manchester Area would be published.

 Mr Hammond confirmed that the introduction of HS2 would create additional capacity on the West Coast Mainline, along with more freight paths. The precise details of service patterns would be decided as part of the franchise agreement.

 Sourced from Dehavilland: www1.Dehavilland.co.uk