The proposed Derby and Derbyshire Combined Authority would seek a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Highways England but will not push for bus franchising powers, Transport Network understands.
Strategic director of economy, transport and environment at Derbyshire CC, Mike Ashworth, said it was ‘a golden opportunity to engage with Highways England and have an influence over investment in the future’.
He revealed the combined authority bid was with ministers and could be launched by April next year. Devolution proposals were ‘well advanced’ across the D2N2 area to accompany it by the 4 September deadline.
‘Obviously there will be some transport asks to go with that but they are yet to be finalised. One of those asks I am pretty sure will be an MOU with Highways England.’
He also revealed: ‘We would not necessarily push for franchise powers over local bus services. In some urban areas bus regulation might be the right thing but not necessarily in rural areas where there is pressure on services and it is more about accessibility. We will look at Bus Service Operators Grant [devolution] and Quality Contract arrangements.’
Mr Ashworth, who is also chair of the transport board for council directors’ body ADEPT, said: ‘We are asking for two combined authorities one for derby and Derbyshire and one for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. There will be great opportunities for collaboration and joint procurement.’
The Derby combined authority would include eight districts, the city and county councils. ‘We have not ruled out an elected mayor. We are engaging with government on that basis,’ Mr Ashworth said.
Surveyor's Highway Management conference will take place on September 23rd and 24th in Manchester. To register go to: www.highway.surveyorevents.com