Published: March 12, 2020 | Updated: March 13, 2020

Green light for biggest-ever sustainable travel programme after councils awarded £79 million

Cllr Vikki Slade of BCP Council (middle row, centre right) and Dorset Council’s Cllr Ray Bryan (middle row, centre left) celebrate the funding windfall with children from Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School and key stakeholders and partners. Picture: Richard Crease.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A joint bid by BCP Council and Dorset Council has been awarded £79 million by the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).

The funding gives the green light for the largest sustainable travel programme of change to transport infrastructure ever seen in the area, helping to transform local transport options, connecting local people and local jobs and education.

It means that significant changes can be made to the travel network to help meet the challenges of congestion being experienced, and support both councils’ climate and ecological change ambitions.

Cllr Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “I’m delighted that our bid with Dorset Council has been awarded this money for our Transforming Cities project.

“As part of our Climate and Ecological Emergency declaration, we set an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“This funding is huge and means that we can create so many opportunities for how people access different travel and leisure options.

“With the climate emergency upon us, it’s vital that we give people new options to rethink how they get around, now and for the future.”

Cllr Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local councils to provide our residents with real transport alternatives that will tackle the climate and ecological emergency and help people get around more easily.

“By working closely with our colleagues at BCP Council, we can make a positive impact both in the short-term by easing traffic congestion and also in the longer-term by cutting down carbon emissions from vehicles.

“Improved transport links across the county will better connect the communities we serve, which can only be a good thing for our local economy.

“A renewed focus on active travel via cycling and walking will have obvious health benefits through improved air quality and possibilities for exercise.

“Dorset Council is excited to be part of such an ambitious project that will benefit both the people who live here and visitors to our beautiful county.

“I’m looking forward to working with partners and watching these plans take shape.”

Based on the Department for Transport requirements, three bid options were submitted for different funding amounts, each supported by partnership funding from key stakeholders including Dorset Council, Dorset Public Health as well as local bus operators Morebus and Yellow Buses and sustainable transport operators, Beryl Bikes, who will contribute funding towards the overall £98m programme.

Working together, the transport partnership will:

  • Create a series of local transport corridors with improvements to bus, cycle and walking routes, to connect homes to places of work and children and young people to schools and education centres more easily.
  • Create a larger and improved network of cycle routes complementing the corridors, connecting homes to work and children and young people to schools and education centres more easily.
  • See the expansion of a local community bike share scheme.
  • Enable access to grant funding for businesses and organisations to create workplace facilities, to encourage sustainable commuting.
  • Look at congestion hotspots to see how they can be reconfigured in order to speed up journey times, decrease time spent in traffic queues and improve air quality in the locality.

Details about the grant funding scheme for employers for workplace facilities will be publicised shortly.

The programme will have several individual schemes in different areas that will roll out over the next three years.

Each project strand will look to improve transport links across the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas, as well creating better links and connectivity between the north to south of the area, from Wimborne, Ferndown and other Dorset outlying areas into the major hub of Bournemouth.