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Rural Areas: Public Transport

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has had recent discussions with the Department for Transport on the environmentally-friendly expansion of rural public transport; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Last December Defra and the Department for Transport (DfT) held a joint roundtable on rural bus services with a wide range of key stakeholders, exploring the issues and potential solutions for providing effective bus services in rural communities.

The new Community Rail Development Strategy, published in November 2018, looks for ways to make it easier for the rail industry and local community rail partnerships to improve services and stations on local branch lines. Defra worked with DfT on the draft strategy and the consultation process on the strategy prior to its launch.

The Government published its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy in March and will be setting out thinking on the future of rural mobility in due course, to explore how the benefits of transport innovation can be enjoyed by everyone, wherever they live.

The Government’s ambitions for the Oxford Cambridge Arc recognise that it is an area of significant strength and opportunity. We recognise that a high-quality environment is key to achieving the ambition of a more productive and connected Arc and aim to meet our economic and housing ambitions while delivering on the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Defra is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and DfT to create sustainable places for people and wildlife, to preserve the environment for future generations.  Within the Arc, we are encouraging the constituent local authorities to be looking to develop local potential transport systems that provide convenient, clean, effective, accessible, inclusive, safe and active travel, with less congestion and better air quality.

Oxford City Council has received £2,334,480, through the Clean Bus Technology Fund, run by Defra and DfT’s Joint Air Quality Unit. This will retrofit 115 buses across Oxford and Oxfordshire to Euro VI standard.

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