The London Borough of Newham is to redirect some of its special road maintenance budget to wider transport investments that would normally be funded by Transport for London.
The borough is in the fifth year of its ten-year ‘Keeping Newham Moving’ programme of carriageway and footway resurfacing and renewals. The programme is financed by borrowing, and about £45m is still available to spend.
Councillors have approved the use of at least £2m of the £13.4m planned expenditure this financial year to deliver short-term measures to help pedestrians and cyclists social distance as well as projects that would normally be delivered by TfL’s Local Implementation Plan (LIP) grant.
Newham had expected to receive £5.16m from TfL in 2020/21, of which LIP was £2.1m, principal road maintenance £300,000, Major projects/liveable neighbourhoods £775,000, cycling schemes £750,000, cycle parking £200,000, and bus priority £1m.
The borough says TfL has “paused” all these funding streams as it grapples with the financial consequences of Covid-19.
Newham is also to rescope the Keeping Newham Moving programme for future years to ensure it delivers “complementary environmental streetscape and sustainable travel interventions alongside resurfacing”.
In a report to councillors, principal transport planner Murray Woodburn said making the changes would “reduce the council’s dependency on TfL funding for air quality and sustainable transport programmes over time, which may be prudent given TfL’s dire financial situation and bleak prospects”.
“Initiatives such as cycle hire, cycle training, residential cycle parking hangars, pedestrian wayfinding and behavioural change events, despite being key complementary measures to improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure, now have no source of funding,” he said.
“Similarly, other LIP initiatives aimed at improving our air quality, and the quality of residents’ lives, such as electric charging points, air quality monitoring, car clubs, streetscape improvements (such as public realm enhancement and planting and greening) and Play Streets are also now unfunded.”
Woodburn said that, in a best case scenario, the borough could receive about £2m this year from successful bids to the £45m borough pot in TfL’s London Streetspace Plan, and the £25m earmarked for London in the DfT’s £250m for active travel announced in May (LTT 15 May).
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