The Department of Transport (DfT) will be issuing updated statutory Network Management Duty guidance to all local transport authorities soon which will make clear that they should always leave cycling and walking schemes in place for long enough for their impacts to be properly assessed.
This is according to Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport who was replying to a question by Andrew Slaughter MP. He was asking about funding for temporary cycle infrastructure in Kensington and whether those funds could be ‘clawed back’ following the removal of the scheme in response to the DfT’s guidance to councils.
Currently, three councils are currently facing court action for removing cycle lanes and experimental traffic orders.
Mr Heaton-Harris said: “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has been allocated a total of around £1 million from the Department’s Active Travel Fund and Transport for London’s London Streetspace Programme. This has supported a number of active travel measures in its area in response to the pandemic including school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods, changes to the public realm to allow greater social distancing, and cycle lanes like the one on Kensington High Street.
“Funding is generally transferred once schemes are delivered and once claims are brought forward by each Borough, meaning that the total amount of funding provided to date is much less than the total allocated. Borough payments are due to be finalised in September 2021, and will reflect scheme delivery in each area. No funding has been or will be provided to the Royal Borough to cover the costs of removing the cycle lane on Kensington High Street.
“In common with other authorities in London and elsewhere, the Royal Borough’s performance in delivering active travel infrastructure is being taken into account in all future funding allocations. The delivery of active travel schemes in London and decisions on active travel funding for individual boroughs are overseen by a group including senior representatives from the Department for Transport and Transport for London,” he added, confirming new guidance would be issues shortly.