YORKSHIRE will receive around £30m for new park-and-ride schemes, bus and cycle lanes and other ‘sustainable’ transport measures after the Government rubber-stamped a series of major projects around the UK.
Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker yesterday unveiled more than a quarter of a billion pounds’ worth of local transport improvements designed to reduce congestion, cut carbon emissions and boost economic growth.
South Yorkshire was the big winner, scooping nearly £25m from the Department for Transport to improve key routes in Barnsley, Doncaster, the Don Valley and the Dearne Valley.
Local authorities will contribute a further £10m of their own funding towards the package of improvements.
In North Yorkshire, a further £3.5m has been awarded for a park-and-ride site in Whitby, designed to reduce the notorious congestion that leaves the town gridlocked on many weekends.
Another £1.6m will support local transport projects in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Mr Baker said: “This is a mega amount of money - £266m.
“And because we’ve been able to persuade local councils to contribute further funds themselves to make the schemes more viable, the total amount of money spent will be £460m.
“The solutions for each area are different, and that’s the beauty of the scheme. We’ve told local councils to create growth and jobs and to cut carbon - we don’t really mind how you do it.
“Every bid has been carefully checked and we’re confident these schemes will be good for the economy and the environment.”
In South Yorkshire, local transport bosses said the windfall would be spent on a range of improvements including new bus services and traffic systems to give buses priority on the roads; new cycle paths; an upgrade of tram stops, and new park-and-ride sites at railway stations.
David Brown, director-general of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: “We welcome this crucial Government funding which will help support economic growth and help get people back to work.
“We have identified four key corridors in South Yorkshire which will greatly benefit from this level of investment - between them they include around 10,200 businesses and 226,000 jobs.”
North Yorkshire County Council welcomed the funding for a park-and-ride site in Whitby, but warned it had only received half the money it requested to improve infrastructure around Harrogate.
It is currently assessing how best to use those funds.
Coun Jane Kenyon, who represents Whitby, said: “After a long, hard struggle we are delighted that we now have the funding which should allow us to deliver our park-and-ride for Whitby.
“This project will be of great benefit to tourists, residents and local businesses alike,” she added.