New government guidance on local transport plans is currently being drafted, which could place a burden on councils to decarbonise or risk losing funding, Transport Network can reveal.
The Department for Transport has pencilled in spring 2022 for the release date of the guidance, which would replace the existing framework published in 2009.
The current guidance already calls for the delivery of 'quantified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions' however the goal has been given a fresh emphasis by Baroness Vere, who raised the prospect of councils losing cash if they failed to embark on decarbonisation.
The roads minister has said that local authority transport plans will need to set out 'how quantifiable carbon reductions will be achieved' and that funding will be 'dependent on those plans being robust, ambitious and achievable'.
Speaking ahead of the Spending Review on 27 October, the minister made a clear commitment to placing more responsibility and funding incentives with councils to help deliver the Government's zero carbon agenda.
DfT officials said they would not enforce the creation of new LTPs, but will expect local areas to have up-to-date plans to access general funding in the future, which comes from a variety streams.
The guidance could also bring fresh points on the levelling up agenda and improving transport for the user, Transport Network understands.
Mark Kemp, chair of ADEPT’s Transport and Connectivity Board, said: 'ADEPT is pleased to hear that there will be more guidance on the development of Local Transport Plans especially given the renewed emphasis on this document for funding decisions.
'These are complex and time-consuming documents to develop and so we would look to DfT to recognise this in any funding decisions that they may make over the next few years.
'Crucially though, changes are needed to LTPs to encapsulate the local interpretation of Bus Back Better, Gear Change and the Decarbonisation of Transport Strategy, and this will play a significant role in delivering the necessary changes in local transport to achieve the Government 2050 carbon aspiration. Adequate long-term funding of the changes necessary to deliver a more sustainable transport network for local communities is vital and we look forward to clarity in this area.'