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Government to favour 'bold' transport plans

TRANSPORT SECRETARY Alistair Darling this week urged councils to be 'bold and imaginative' in applying for funding in the next round of Local Transport Plans (LTPs).

Speaking at a Local Government Association conference in London, Darling cited improving bus routes and proposals for road user charging as examples of suitable schemes that could win authorities a share of his transport innovation fund.

The fund will increase from around £250M in 2008/09 to around £3bn a year in 2015 (NCE 25 November).

Local authorities have until the end of January to outline proposals. They then must confirm this interest in more detail in their LTP submissions in July.

Department for Transport guidance on producing LTPs published this week states that 'a small number of local authorities' will be selected to develop ideas further, with funding available for investigating schemes from 2005/06.

Buckinghamshire County Council's transportation head Garrett Emmerson said gaining public support for measures could prove tricky.

But he added: 'There are quite a few authorities that have been hankering after something like this for quite some time.'

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