28th Jun, 2022

Mayor calls for transport settlement to tackle climate change

Ross Crawford 20th Jun, 2021

WEST Midlands Mayor Andy Street has called for further devolution of funding to help cut carbon emissions from transport as part of the region’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2041.

Speaking at Midlands Connect’s pre-COP26 conference, the Mayor urged the Government to make regions responsible for their own transport emissions, complete with a long-term funding settlement, and the ability to speed up rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charge points.

With transport emissions making up one-third of all carbon emissions across the region, the changes would give a significant boost to the region’s #WM2041 plan.

He said: “The Government is committed to tackling the climate emergency and so are we, but we could do so much more to speed things up – particularly when it comes to transport.

“The West Midlands is sorely lacking in EV infrastructure, and the constant need to ask London to fund transport projects is cumbersome and slowing down our plans.

“I want to work with Government to address these issues and accelerate our response to climate change.”

Since the Mayor’s election in 2017, the West Midlands has undergone record investment in public transport.

From an expanded metro to new rail stations, zero-emissions buses to cycle and e-scooter hire schemes, more than £1billion is currently being invested across the network.

But this investment and the transformation that it brings has come the hard way, with all business cases for Government funding being signed off by civil servants in London.

The Mayor said: “It isn’t right we have civil servants in London deciding if we can build a bus stop or extend a tram line, they do not know the West Midlands like our local leaders do.

“With a long-term funding settlement we will have the cash to invest in the schemes we know are best for the region and its residents, with Government holding us to account for how the money is spent.

“This change would be critical, particularly in the context of tackling the climate change emergency, as it means we can super-charge our plans for cleaner buses, trains, and trams, as well as more active travel options such as our bikes and e-scooters.

“The more viable options people have, the more likely we are to see the polluting car left at home.”

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