Active travel fund frequestly asked questions

Following the Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) made funding available through the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) to provide temporary infrastructure to aid social distancing. 

As a result, schemes were rolled out across the country. The DfT has since announced a second round of funding made available to local authorities – this is known as the Active Travel Fund (ATF). Active Travel funding is being made available to spend in 2021/22, and is intended to enhance streets, while providing space to enable non motorised users to observe social distancing. The fund has been renamed with the removal of the word ‘emergency’ due to the longer timescales involved in approving the fund and for the subsequent delivery.

In tranche 1 the total indicative allocation from the Department for Transport to NYCC was £266,000 but only 50% funding was awarded following the DfT assessment of our Tranche 1 bid. The County Council added match funding of £133,000 to complete all of the schemes set out in the tranche 1 bid given the importance of the proposed measures to the Covid-19 recovery strategy.

In tranche 1 the total indicative allocation from the Department for Transport to NYCC was £1,065m. The total award to NYCC was £1,011,750. A decision was made to be ambitious and bid for more than the £1.065m indicative allocation and so a bid for £1.565m was submitted. This bid included:

  • Oatlands Drive, Harrogate: introduction of a one way system, segregated cycle lanes along an existing cycle route, improved crossing facilities at four locations and other improvements;
  • A59, Maple Close, Harrogate, to Knaresborough: segregated cycle lanes along an existing cycle route and improved crossing facilities at either end;
  • Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, Princes Square to Station Parade: pedestrian crossing improvements, segregated cycling infrastructure and bike storage facilities;
  • Guisborough Road, Whitby, park and ride site to Prospect Hill: segregated walkways and cycle lanes along the existing park and ride route;
  • Market Place, Helmsley, to Kirkdale Lane: a segregated pedestrian and cycle lane along a busy bus route to allow active travel from Beadlam to Nawton;

As the bid included a cycle route from Helmsley as an additional scheme, which was over and above the allocation, this was removed from the scheme list.

We  bid for the funding (pdf / 445 KB), after assessing 300 schemes across the county, including some received from the public, interest groups and county councillors.

Tranche 2 funding can be used to support both temporary, low-cost schemes, and permanent schemes with a short lead time, so long as they meet the criteria outlined below. Local

  • Can it be delivered in 20/21? (this subsequently changed to 21/22 because of a delay in announcing the funding allocations)
  • Does it replace a well used bus route?
  • Does it provide a segregated cycle /pedestrian route or close roads to traffic?
  • Does it cater for BOTH cycling AND walking?
  • Can it be delivered for less than our allocation of £1.065m?

This is a challenging set of criteria and a significant number of potential schemes had to be ruled out because of deliverability or cost. The schemes put forward to be funded are those that best fit the EATF criteria.

As part of developing our proposals, a programme of consultation is a condition of the Department for Transport funding and must be undertaken before any scheme can be built (read the  active travel fund consultation plan (pptx / 162 KB)). This consultation programme is to be completed in two phases.

The first round of consultation, in February, was seeking feedback on the potential route corridors; where we could deliver improvements to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Following the responses and feedback from the first round of consultation, we have developed the draft designs and the public are invited to comment on them. This second round of consultation looks to get your feedback so we can develop the draft designs further before a recommendation is made on which schemes should proceed.

We have promoted the consultation widely on NYCC social media pages, including Facebook, twitter and Instagram. We posted an article on our website and this has been sent to the local press. Additionally we have directly contacted local stakeholder groups who have been asked to share the link as widely as possible.

We have communicated with local residents and organisations directly via post.

People are invited to give their comments on the draft designs by completing an online survey, which will run from Monday, 22nd March until Monday, April 12.

To take part please visit our social distancing and active travel page. Paper copies of the survey are available on request by emailing ltp@northyorks.gov.uk

Two public meetings are being held in March to discuss the proposals and enable the public to ask questions about the draft designs. The meetings will be held at the following times:

  • The meeting to discuss the Harrogate corridors will be held on March 29 from 3-5pm,
  • The meeting to discuss the Whitby corridors on March 31 from 3-4pm.

The meetings will be held online due to Government restrictions around Covid-19 and can be accessed at the specified times on our social distancing and active travel page. Covid-19 lockdown restrictions mean it is not possible to hold public consultation events.

Following the public meeting we will make a list of the questions and answers available online. If you have further questions you can submit these by emailing ltp@northyorks.gov.uk quoting Active Travel Fund in the subject line.

The detail on each of the proposals, included in North Yorkshire County Council's Active Travel Fund bid to Government, is high level and was always intended to be subject to further investigation and development as part of the Transport Appraisal process, not least because it has been such a long time since submission of the bid, in August 2020 and we expect things to have changed.

We have listened to your views submitted during the first round of consultation and used them to influence the draft designs, where it was possible and appropriate to do so.

The transport appraisal process supports the development of business cases supporting investment decisions. Projects or studies that require government approval are expected to make use of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Transport Appraisal Guidance (TAG). For projects or studies that do not require government approval the guidance serves as a best practice guide

The three stages in the Transport Appraisal Process are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Option Development. This involves identifying the need for intervention and developing options to address a clear set of locally developed objectives which express desired outcomes. These are then sifted for the better performing options to be taken on to further detailed appraisal in Stage 2.
  • Stage 2 – Further Appraisal of a small number of better performing options in order to obtain sufficient information to enable decision-makers to make a rational and auditable decision about whether or not to proceed with intervention. The focus of analysis is on estimating the likely performance and impact of intervention(s) in sufficient detail.
  • Stage 3 – Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation.  

We are currently at stage 1 in this process.

We are not yet at the stage of the Transport Appraisal Process where modelling of the impact on the schemes surrounding roads and traffic junctions. This is usually completed as part of stage two.

The feedback received in this round of consultation will be used to shape the draft designs and a recommendation will then be made on which schemes should proceed. A decision will then be made on which schemes will progress.

The schemes that progress will undergo further development and subsequently delivery plans will be drawn up to have the schemes in place by March 2022 at the latest.

The UK Government has announced an ambitious new emissions target setting the UK on the path to net zero by 2050, leading the way in tackling climate change globally. The plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels).

Coupled with the ban on the sale of new vehicles with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) by 2030 the switch to greener and active modes has never been more important.

As the UK government seeks to decouple economic growth from carbon emissions, creating a thriving low carbon economy within York, North Yorkshire and East Riding presents an immense economic opportunity. The YNY LEP is aiming toward a net zero economy by 2034 and has further ambitions to be carbon negative by 2040.

With these dates looming it is important now, more than ever, that people make a transition to greener, more sustainable modes of travel and NYCC have a responsibility to deliver the infrastructure, which enables this modal shift to go ahead.

Indicative proposals included in Tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel bid were intended to be temporary schemes/trials, which could be delivered quickly to react to the needs of the public during the pandemic.

In Tranche 2 Government indicated that funding can be used to support both temporary schemes, and permanent schemes with a short lead time. They also renamed the fund with the removal of the word ‘emergency’ due to the longer timescales involved in approving the fund and for the subsequent delivery.

It is possible therefore that we will consider introducing schemes under an Experimental Traffic Order; this means they will be installed on a temporary basis, in order to trial the scheme, before a decision is made on whether or not they should be made permanent.

Harrogate

Transforming Cities Fund

North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority have been successful in a bid to secure £31m for projects in Selby, Skipton and Harrogate town centres, through the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund.

The project is part of the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund programme, a major new programme of investment that aims to create a step change in travel across the region. This investment will also help ‘level up’ the UK economy and redistribute wealth, jobs and investment more equitably across the four nations. This investment forms part of a much wider plan to tackle the climate crisis and deliver a more sustainable future for the region.

In Harrogate, a major package of investment will improve opportunities for sustainable travel and link the main transport hubs with centres of education and employment – all essential to getting back on track after the Covid-19 pandemic.

More information on the Transforming Cities Fund programme.

Low Traffic Neighbourhood – Beech Grove

North Yorkshire County Council highways team introduced a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) experimental traffic restriction on Beech Grove and Lancaster Road in Harrogate in February 2021.

The scheme means that non-residential through traffic is no longer available for traffic seeking to travel between West Park / Beech Grove and Otley Road. Beech Grove continues to be accessible to residents, their visitors, deliveries, emergency vehicles, refuse collections, taxi / private hire vehicles and drivers wishing to park and access the adjacent Stray area.

As this is an experimental scheme the public has a six-month period to share their views. The County Council will then consider whether to make it permanent, extend the experiment or set it aside.

More information on the Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme

Harrogate Transport Improvements Programme is a study of ways in which to reduce congestion and improve the infrastructure for all modes of transport in Harrogate and Knaresborough. The study has considered walking and cycling, highways improvements, junctions, bus priority and park and ride, as well as looking at ways in which people can be encouraged to travel more sustainably (known as behaviour change).

Whitby

Towns Deal

The Towns Fund Deal is a government-funded £3.6 billion opportunity for towns throughout England to bid for funds to improve skills, digital and transport connectivity, create new jobs, raise aspiration and revitalise the economic prospects of the area.

Whitby has received £17.1m which will deliver projects including pedestrianisation of Whitby swing bridge and a creation of a Whitby innovation hub, all of the projects are aimed at stimulating the economy in areas that may, without funding, be left behind.

With the potential creation of new jobs and more movements to and from the town, it is pertinent to consider how people will move around in the future.