0.13% of a station
On reflection, I think “trickle” may be over-stating it a bit – this is more of a slight dampening.
There is a document called Growth without Gridlock, which is KCC’s grandiose plan for turning the Garden of England into a 24 hour blur of traffic. It includes:
- plans for a Third Thames Crossing (that the local councils at either end of the proposed crossing don’t want),
- upgrades to the M2 and M20 (to squeeze more lorries through Dover),
- enhancements to Operation Stack (to provide parking for those lorries),
- upgrades to the high speed rail link to Ramsgate (to speed up the trains),
- and a new Manston Parkway station (to slow them down again).
All in all, as fine a display of joined-up thinking as we’re likely to see from KCC any time soon, and a bargain at £1.77 billion. Yes, that’s £1,770,000,000. KCC have been roaming the streets with their hands outstretched, seeking funds from every quarter. The latest mark to be suckered into coughing up is the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which:
“reflects the Government’s core objectives of supporting economic growth by improving the links that move goods and people and meeting its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions”
KCC were presumably bidding on the strength of promising to move goods and people, as they would be on shakier ground if they were playing the Green Joker on this round. The emissions saved by a few people driving to a Parkway station (rather than making the whole journey by car) will be outweighed by the extra traffic attracted by the enhanced motorway network and increased road freight.
Anyway… the Local Sustainable Transport Fund has already been criticised for being a well-meaning but poorly targetted drop in the ocean. The (relatively) small Fund is spread across four years, and 300 local authorities. KCC’s £1.77bn transport strategy has been awarded £2.3 million from the Fund, and that’s all they’ll get – as Norman Baker said when introducing the LSTF in December 2010, authorities “will only be able to be successful with one bid”.
That £2.3m is just under 0.13% of what KCC need for their plan. If this is divvied out equally across the piece, Manston Parkway would see about £13,000 of the £10m projected cost. To put this in perspective – each of the three “car park enforcement staff” (the only jobs created at the proposed station) cost £22,500 per annum.
Landmark transport scheme receives cash boost
A landmark transport strategy designed to solve ongoing problems with congestion has been awarded £2.3 million from Government. Growth Without Gridlock, which was launched in December, was selected as one of 39 projects in the UK to receive a share of £155m investment. The Kent County Council plan consists of a wish-list of improvements which transport chiefs say would solve some of the problems stunting economic growth in Kent.
It includes the development of a £40m Thanet parkway station serving Manston airport; a £500m scheme to improve traffic flow on the M2 and M20 corridors; and a Third Thames crossing to ease congestion at Dartford. Council leader Paul Carter admitted at the launch of the strategy that “big funding streams” from government were over and the authority had had to identify new revenue streams to raise the £1.8bn needed for improvements to the transport network.
Government selected 39 projects designed to boost economic growth and reduce carbon emissions to receive a share of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. KCC’s own scheme was chosen as being effective in the two key objectives. Transport minister Norman Baker said he was delighted to be able to fund the strategy:
“It will help build a strong local community while addressing the urgent challenge of climate change. We have empowered local authorities to create packages of sustainable initiatives that are tailored for their local area and this is only the beginning. Even more funding will be announced next summer following a second round of bids.”
An independent panel with expertise in delivering sustainable transport has been appointed to advise ministers on the bids, including the Campaign for Better Transport. Campaigns director at the organisation Richard Hebditch said he was pleased Kent will receive funding.
“We’ve long called for funding for these kinds of programmes, which we know can cut congestion and cut carbon. We’re looking forward to seeing the practical results which I’m sure will make a big difference.”
Other funding sources for Growth Without Gridlock include toll income from the Thames Crossings, port landing charges at Dover and road charges for foreign lorries. Cllr Carter said:
“Together with new freedoms and new local transport powers, these innovative new sources of funding would pay for Kent’s top transport priorities including a Third Thames Crossing and the “bifurcation” of port traffic from Dover along both the M2 and M20 corridors. In difficult economic times, we have no option but to do things differently. All of the schemes identified in Growth without Gridlock will be vital to unlocking new jobs, new business and boosting new economic growth in Kent.”
Medway Council’s Medway Get Active project was refused funding from government under the scheme.
kentnews.co.uk 10 Jul 2011