Tory led Surrey County Council fails to get funding for bus service improvements

April 8, 2022 3:03 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Lance Spencer and others at bus stopSurrey County Council's plans for a greener future took a major step backwards when it failed to get any financial support from the government for its Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Boris Johnson announced funding for his Bus Back Better scheme in March 2021 with £3 billion available to help transform bus services across England.

In October 2021, Surrey County Council submitted what it said was an 'ambitious' Bus Service Improvement Plan to the Department for Transport and requested £120 million of funding.

However, the Department for Transport has now announced the funding allocations and Surrey will receive no funding at all as part of the Bus Back Better scheme. The government cited Surrey's lack of ambition as a key reason for its decision.

Nationally, the Bus Service Improvement Plan funding pot available to Local Transport Authorities outside of the city regions was reduced from £3 billion to £1.2 billion. Even if this much-reduced amount had been shared equally, it would have only equated to approximately £6 million a year for Surrey, which would have been significantly lower than the £120 million bid.

Lib Dem Councillor for Goldsworth East and Horsell Village, Lance Spencer, said:

"The Bus Service Improvement Plan was a key part of Surrey County Council's Greener Futures Delivery Plan, encouraging people to use public transport instead of cars to reduce carbon emissions. But this plan is now in ruins after the Surrey Conservatives' failure to be ambitious enough."

"42% of Surrey's carbon emissions come from transport, primarily private car use. This is a massive setback for that scheme and shows that both at national and local level, these plans are really just greenwashing. It is appalling and disappointing that Surrey is getting no government funding for bus services. Bus passengers should not be ignored like this."