The government has this morning approved £530M of funding for extensions to the Nottingham tram, and also sanctioned Britain’s first workplace parking levy which will fund the city council’s contribution to the scheme.
The scheme, which has received initial Government approval, will see two new tram lines - one to Chilwell and Beeston and the other to Clifton.
This decision will now allow Nottingham City Council, the promoters of the scheme, to start the procurement process. Subject to a successful outcome construction of the extensions is scheduled to start in 2011 and open in 2014
To enable the city council to provide its local funding contribution the Department for Transport (DfT) has also today confirmed the council’s Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) Order and made regulations providing for the enforcement of WPL schemes generally.
But due to the recession, the DfT has imposed a two-year delay, until 2012, in collection of the levy charges at no cost to the City.
The extensions build on the success of the existing line, which carried over 10m passengers last year, and will be funded through private finance initiative credits. It will also allow easier interchange between tram, rail, bus and taxis at the Nottingham station.
Transport minister Sadiq Khan said: “The Nottingham tram continues to be a great success in encouraging people onto public transport. These extensions provide the opportunity to improve on this success, and give people in the south of Nottingham and longer distance commuters quicker, more convenient access to the city centre.
“And of course the extensions will also boost economic growth and regeneration in the City by improving access to a number of key employment sites.”
Green groups welcomed the news.
“Nottingham City Council has shown good common sense in seeking to improve transport in the city by implementing a workplace parking levy,” said Campaign for Better Transport campaigns director Richard Hebditch.
“The levy will raise vital money to invest in great public transport improvements to help to reduce local traffic problems – which is good news for local businesses and local people.”
David Thornhill, chair of the group’s Nottinghamshire branch, said he was pleased the transport minister gave Phase 2 of the city tram conditional approval today: “This is excellent news. We have waited for far too long for decisions on the tram extension and we trust that work will now proceed as quickly as possible.”