125. The test of the Government's priorities is its
spending plans. As the Institute of Logistics and Transport informed
us that "the key issue remains the level of resources needed
to realise an effective user-friendly network".
The funds the Government plans for investment in transport were
announced in Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan, which was
published in July 2000. The plan "announces £180 billion
investment in all forms of transport".
This sum comprises £64bn public capital investment, £64bn
public revenue spending
and £56bn of private spending.
A very large part of the public money is to be spent on strategic
roads and rail - £22.5bn of public expenditure on strategic
roads and £29.1bn on rail. In addition there will be private
investment on both these items. In total the investment in roads
will be £59 bn and on rail £ 60 bn.
The budget for walking is provided from local authorities' capital
expenditure under 5 year Local Transport Plans. The first, published
in July 2000, cover the period 2001 to 2006. £8.4bn was provided
for these 5 years in the local transport capital settlement announced
in December 2000.
126. While the 10-Year Plan provides more resources
for transport, witnesses doubted whether a significant proportion
of the funds would be provided to facilitate and promote walking.
Two main questions are at issue:
first, whether the 10-Year
Plan favours big schemes over small schemes which facilitate walking;
and if it does, whether it is right to do so; and
secondly, whether Local Transport Plan budgets make
adequate provision for schemes to facilitate and promote walking
127. The bulk of the evidence submitted to our inquiry
argued that spending plans showed that walking was not a priority
The Government's concerns are long distance travel rather than
short trips, big schemes rather than small, and, in particular,
new road building. The Civic Trust stated:
"Investing in walking
represents fantastic value for money. It is cheap and benefits
most people. Unfortunately too much of the money made available
through the Ten Year Transport Plan will be directed towards big
infrastructure projects that benefit inter-urban travellers. Investment
in the walking environment was given a low priority".
The Ramblers' Association claimed:
"The backtracking that
has occurred with the road building programme shows the disappointing
reality of the Government's lack of commitment to sustainable
128. During our inquiry Professor Goodwin, formerly
an adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, published his analysis
of the Government's plans. He found that the big road projects
would have little impact on congestion and that small schemes
might be more effective and offer better value for money.
129. In response to our questions Lord Macdonald
agreed that the 10-Year Plan had given priority to big schemes.
The explanation was surprising. It was not that the big schemes
are more cost-effective but that the Government puts emphasis
on large scale schemes because their 'impact' and 'value for money'
are more easily measured through the methodology 'that is available
to the Treasury'.
The Government's view appears to be that we should invest in schemes
which show positive value. We can only measure the value of large
schemes using Treasury methods. Therefore building large schemes
with a measured positive value is more worthwhile (or less risky)
than building small scale schemes whose value cannot be measured.
130. This seems wrong. It is untrue that the value
of small schemes cannot be measured, and many small schemes have
been shown to have a positive value. It seems then that the Government
is simply not interested in appraising small schemes.
131. The first point to be made about expenditure
in Local Transport Plans is that it is very difficult to establish
how much will be spent on walking. £1bn of the £8.4bn
for 2001-06 is for new local authority roads. A large sum is for
road maintenance. The DETR memorandum states:
"The funding for [Local
Transport Plans] will rise from some £650 million in 1999-2000
to £1.3 billion in 2001-02, and to £1.9 billion by 2005-06.
The £1.3 bn for 2001-02 includes £545m
for capital road maintenance, more than double the allocation
for 1999-2000. This covers, for the first time, capital funding
for maintenance on non-principal roads (the great majority of
roads) whose funding was previously entirely from revenue account.
This allocation will enable local authorities to achieve a very
considerable improvement in road maintenance to the benefit of
all users including pedestrians."
This implies that the DETR considers that the capital
road maintenance budget will be the main source of funding for
132. In view of the difficulty in determining
the priority given to walking in their Local Transport Plans,
the Institution of Highways and Transportation recommended that
"the DETR should encourage local authorities to be explicit
in terms of expenditure allocated to walking, and the outcomes
derived, in the annual progress reports as part of the LTP process".
We agree, although we recognise that some forms of spending (eg
20 mph zones in residential areas) are in part investment in walking
because they reduce traffic speeds.
133. While expenditure under the roads maintenance
budget can be spent on schemes to promote walking, and while there
may be nothing to prevent a local authority from spending on walking
schemes within its overall LTP budget, this seems unlikely at
present to happen for several reasons. The first one is that local
authorities have failed to give walking the priority it deserves
in their Local Transport Plans. The second is that local authorities
respond to DETR guidance, and without a determined and active
effort on the part of Government it is unlikely that walking schemes
will be a priority for local authorities. This seems borne out
by the many local authorities which have not published a walking
strategy. In addition, local authorities will tend to give priority
to expenditure on safety where there is a legal liability.
134. The current low level of spending on walking
schemes is surprising in one sense because local residents may
well want to see a higher proportion of transport spending devoted
to walking projects. Sandwell Health Authority reported that Birmingham
City Council had employed independent consultants to consult members
of the public to apportion the overall transport budget amongst
the various areas of expenditure. The 2000 respondents thought
that an average of 9% of the budget should be spent on schemes
specifically to encourage walking (as opposed to safety schemes,
highway maintenance or five other categories). The amount of spending
proposed in the draft LTP was less than 1%, although this changed
135. The Government has opted to fund big rather
than small schemes in its Ten Year Plan, but does not know which
offer the best value for money. This oversight must be
addressed. We recommend that the Government ensure that in future
a higher proportion of funds in Local Transport Settlements, commensurate
with the importance of walking as a mode of transport, be spent
on the measures put forward in the National Walking Strategy we
propose. We also recommend that a higher proportion of funds in
the Ten Year Transport Plan be spent on Local Transport Plans.
There should be a corresponding reduction in the sums spent on
new national roads.
136. Apart from transport funds there are other sources
of public and private expenditure which could support walking
projects. In view of the fact that such projects are especially
important for the many poor households without a car, urban regeneration
spending would seem particularly appropriate to support them.
In addition local authorities could make more use of developers'
contributions under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning
Act for measures to promote walking.
137. The application of these additional funds to
schemes to support walking will be greatly facilitated both by
the introduction of local walking strategies and by appropriate
local development plans which support walking so that when money
becomes available there will be well-worked proposals to which
they can contribute. Mr Bacon, Director of the Civic Trust and
formerly chief executive of a local authority told us:
"it would be very helpful
if local plans also had a requirement to make sure that they looked
at the whole network of pedestrian routes that support those land
uses. When planning applications came in, there could be a framework
for looking at developer contributions to that network under section
106 and section 278, in the same way you can ask for contributions
to roads and so on. Sometimes it is very difficult to get contributions
from developers to pedestrianised networks because there are no
approved plans for them."
He added, "if we can put walking at the centre
of the local planning framework and the allocation of highway
funding, it will help the awareness of engineers and the whole
thing will be a virtuous circle".
138. We note that the Government proposes to review
the subject of planning gain. The proposed review of planning
gain should consider how developers' contributions could most
appropriately facilitate walking. We recommend that developers'
contributions for this purpose be the norm in new developments.
We also recommend that Local Transport Plans contain approved
plans for pedestrian networks in order to facilitate developers'
189 Encouraging walking,