Marches LEP launches new £140,000 transport fund
A new fund to help finance the preparation of strategic business cases for vital transport infrastructure projects has been launched by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
The £140,000 fund – developed in partnership with regional transport body Midlands Connect – will be used to support the development of Strategic Outline Business Cases (SOBCs) for transport schemes.
The launch of the fund comes after the Marches LEP commissioned a special report from transport consultants Aecom to highlight the most strategically important transport projects across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
Mark Schneider, Marches LEP head of business development and delivery, said the LEP wanted to hear expressions of interest to develop SOBCs for transport projects in one or more of the following areas:
- Bus service improvement schemes that create a coherent regional approach that considers cross-boundary connectivity
- Cycling and walking Infrastructure that creates coherent regional approaches and considers cross-boundary connectivity
- Freight Route Network (FRN) improvements that enable better access, reduce unnecessary movements and help support clean, inclusive growth in the Marches and Mid Wales
- Rail connectivity improvement schemes that accelerate delivery of the strategic upgrades that would make the greatest contribution to local rail network ambitions and complementary, intra-regional schemes that enable more local people to access the rail network in a sustainable way
- Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in communities across the Marches to serve growing demand
Mark said: “It is vital that we build on the excellent work carried out by Aecom earlier this year through the further development of strategically important transport projects.
“We know that creating an inter-connected, resilient, sustainable and environmentally-responsible transport network is an absolute priority for our business community, our partners in local authorities and for all the region’s communities.
“We’re looking for bids which provide for better interchange between different forms of transport, especially all modes to and from rail, and which demonstrate resilience in terms of climate change and carbon reduction.
“Schemes should have a strategic impact in terms of the Marches economy through job creation, access to employment, education, and services as well as improved journey times and reduced congestion and consider the creation of sustainable places, minimising the harmful environmental impacts of transport on public health and contributing to decarbonisation targets by improving air quality.
“And in our predominantly rural area it is important that bids consider improved mobility and inclusion, helping to level up disadvantaged and excluded communities.”
Of the £140,000 funding made available by the Marches LEP and Midlands Connect, £40,000 is specifically ring fenced for the development of rail related business cases, including multi-modal interchange with rail.
The call is open to all incorporated organisations, including community groups with a legal structure.
For more details of how to apply to the fund see https://www.marcheslep.org.uk/our-funding/
For more details of the Aecom report, see https://www.marcheslep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Marches-LEP-Transport-Supporting-documents.zip