The Combined Authority’s lack of ambition is costing our region valuable funds

This article was published in 2022, in Magazine 155.

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) gained just £635,000 in the government’s latest active travel funding announcement, in stark contrast to the transport authorities for other regions. Ranking bottom of the UK’s Combined Authorities, the CPCA received 4% of the funds allocated to top-rated West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, an amount equivalent to 74p per CPCA resident. According to national charity Cycling UK, these funds have been allocated to Phase 2 of the Thorpe Wood cycleway in Peterborough and some School Streets schemes.

Funding allocation
Department for Transport table showing that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has received less active travel funding than any other Combined Authority in the UK.

We are furious at the potential millions sacrificed by the mayoral authority and published a press release supported by Ely Cycling Campaign, Peterborough Cycle Forum and Hunts Walking & Cycling Group. The Department for Transport has made clear that successful funding proposals must involve significant changes to road layouts to give more space to people walking and cycling and all schemes must be compliant with LTN 1/20, the government’s standards on inclusive design. The region’s small allocation suggests that many local scheme proposals did not meet this brief, or that compliant proposals weren’t made at all.

This is not the first time Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s allocation has been lower than the figure it applied for, and most of the money gained for the previous set of schemes is yet to be spent, despite an initial implementation deadline of March 2022.

It’s time for change. Decision-makers must work together to plan programmes of ambitious active travel schemes if they are serious about achieving local transport and climate goals. There must also be greater transparency and community collaboration on the application process. It is absolutely essential that our region does not fail on the fourth tranche of available funding which is now open for applications.

Active travel fund overview

2020-2021 funding

The CPCA gained £2,366,679, split across two budget allocations, over half a million pounds less than expected. Eight experimental schemes were made permanent including six modal filters in Cambridge. The Mill Road bus gate and Crescent Bridge pop-up cycle lane in Peterborough were removed. Nearly a year after the public consultation none of the second tranche of schemes has been delivered

2021-2022 funding

The CPCA budget monitor report suggests it was expecting £1,545,000 for proposals including footbridges in Peterborough and Ely. It gained £635,000.