© Crown copyright 2019
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-to-the-local-pinch-point-fund/local-pinch-point-fund-guidance-for-applicants-2019
Aims of the local pinch point fund
The Budget 2018 announced a competitive fund for local authorities to bid for high-impact schemes to help address congestion pinch points and to reduce congestion on local roads. The fund is £150 million in total, with £75 million in each financial year 2021 to 2022 and 2022 to 2023.
The fund reflects the government’s strong commitment in supporting economic growth by tackling barriers on the local highway network that may be restricting the movement of goods and people. The Department for Transport’s funding will be a capital contribution for projects to be built by local highway authorities in England, outside London, funded in the 2 financial years above.
This builds on the previous local pinch point funds that took place between 2013 and 2015 and which comprised five tranches in total. A total of 112 local pinch point fund projects received £262 million of government funding at that time. Taking local contributions into account the total funding was around £500 million.
The Department for Transport’s discussions with local authorities, business groups and other government departments indicate that such investment in the local road network is a way to boost economic growth through measures to ease congestion and improve journey times.
In recent years the department has provided funding for local road improvements through a number of programmes, including through part of the national productivity investment fund (NPIF) for which 75 projects were awarded £244 million of funding in 2017. Many of those projects are small scale improvements, including road widening, junction improvements, and measures to improve traffic flow. The pinch point fund is intended to target similar projects which would be coming into construction as many of the NPIF projects are nearing completion.
The government is committed to upgrading and renewing local road infrastructure. Through this pinch point fund, it is encouraging local authorities to invest in improvements to the road network.
The fund will operate in 2 stages. This first stage of the application process asks for authorities to come forward with brief expressions of interest by 31 January 2020. The department will assess the expressions of interest and ministers will decide on a shortlist who will be asked to submit a more detailed business case. This phased approach is intended to avoid burdens on local authorities, with only the shortlisted applicants required to submit a business case.
Who is eligible to apply?
Funding profile and timetable
A local highway authority at county or unitary tier in England outside London can apply for funding. This will be through submitting an expression of interest rather than a formal bidding process. Where an authority falls within a combined authority (CA) each component authority may submit its expression of interest via a co-ordinator in the CA. The CA should then indicate the relative priority they attach to each proposal. If 2 local authorities jointly submit an expression of interest then it must identify which is the lead authority.
Funding is £150 million in total, £75 million available in each year over two financial years from 2021 to 2022.
The fund will operate via a full competition over 2 phases, with the first acting as a light-touch process to reduce the burden on authorities. This guidance acts as the launch of phase 1 of the process and invites authorities to come forward with expressions of interest setting out the scheme which they are seeking funding for in order to reduce congestion or help alleviate a key bottleneck on the local road network.
The 2 phases are as follows:
- Phase 1 of application process: this is an expression of interest stage where we will assess the bid based on the eligibility criteria as set out in section 3 of this guidance.
- Phase 2 of application process: for authorities successful in passing to phase 2, we will expect a further and detailed submission. Further guidance will be issued to the successful authorities when they are notified.
Phase 2 of the process will be competitive, and there is no guarantee of further investment funding to shortlisted authorities.
We will not accept bids that are related to the major road network.
Scope of the fund
Eligible types of project
These are indicated below but this is not an exhaustive list. Budget 2018 announced “To support projects across England that ease congestion on local routes, the government will also make £150 million of NPIF funding available to local authorities for small improvement projects such as roundabouts”. NPIF is the national productivity investment fund which is a broad cross-government funding stream.
Projects could include road widening, additional traffic lanes to reduce congestion, additional footway or cycleway provision. The project might involve replacing a junction with a roundabout or traffic signalled arrangement to improve traffic flow. Projects might aim to address severance caused by highways, to provide new pedestrian facilities including footbridges or signalled crossing places.
Proposals could include bus priority measures to improve journey times, bus lanes or signalling to give priority at junctions, bus gates or measures to ensure compliance. Cycle priority at junctions and other measures to improve cycle safety might be proposed.
A scheme may be on a specific site, at one junction, or it may be a point to point improvement along a length of existing highway. The proposal might provide access to sites earmarked for development, including a new or modified junction or a spur road.
Proposals should demonstrate the benefit to local businesses, and improvements to productivity on completing the project. The proposal should indicate the range of funding sought from the Department for Transport, eg £5 million to £10 million, £10 million to £15 million, or over £15 million.
Delivery of the project
Expressions of Interest should include evidence that demonstrate the project will be delivered to a realistic timetable. The department may also factor into its assessment the promoting authority’s track record of delivery, taking into account other projects completed or in construction.
Where projects involve the process for securing planning permission for works outside the highway boundary, necessary rail possessions, road closures, diversion of utilities or other statutory permissions these should be clearly set out
Expressions of interest stage
At the expressions of interest (EOI) stage we will be looking at the impact of the proposal on traffic congestion, its benefit to local residents and businesses, its impact on productivity and the nature of the proposal regarding the mix of traffic that uses the road, eg the level of congestion on the route measured by total vehicles annual average daily traffic (AADT), indicating the wider strategic benefits that it will bring. We will also be considering the level of the local funding contribution, whether from the local authority, a third party such as a developer, or other sources of funding (excluding other government funding programmes).
In considering the proposal we will be looking at how quickly any benefits can be delivered, in particular that the EOI demonstrates that the scheme could be completed on the ground in a reasonable time from the funding being made available.
Date for submitting an EOI
The date for local highway authorities or Combined Authorities to submit an EOI is 31 January 2020. The email address is LT.PLANS@dft.gov.uk.