Derby City Council has published its consultation document for its next three years’ spending. It is available here. Now is the time to respond to what it says – or what appears to be missing. This is the time in the budget-setting process when people are most able to alter what will happen, so although it doesn’t seem exciting, please help to make a difference.
The part of the budget that deals with highways and transport issues is “Neighbourhoods” starting on page 51, but it is helpful to read the ‘Introduction’ as well. This mentions in section 6 the Council Plan. Referencing one or more of its aims in your response to the Council may give your comments more weight – and the council officers and councillors more pause for thought. Of particular relevance to cycling might be “A thriving sustainable economy”and “Good health and well-being”.
The budget (see the table on page 56) includes a cut of over £500,000 from the highways maintenance budget and a promise to replace £500,000 of this from the highways capital budget (see not on page 60). This will mean that there is less money for small scale improvement schemes.
Also of particular note are the final two paragraphs under ‘Budget Prioritisation’ on page 53 which really says that some services will not be able to be provided due to reductions in the Local Transport Plan funding unless we get Sustainable Transport Fund money – the bid for this has not yet even been written. With reference to this point it is worth asking the council to ensure that there is funding for cycle training and travel planning in schools, to help meet the ‘aims’ mentioned above. The cut to road safety work might also be mentioned here (page 60)
You may also be concerned about the further cut of £50,000 to the Climate Change Unit (page 58) which had in the past been able to run events like Ecofest and has done a lot of work to cut the Council’s fuel bills, including by pushing for a council travel plan.
Of course it’s fine saying ‘don’t cut this’, but the budget does need to balance. Where might extra money be found, or other savings made? They proudly state that street lights won’t be switched off (which some other councils are now doing during the early hours), but should this be reviewed? They don’t intend increasing Council Tax, is this the right decision.
The online consultation form is here, but you can also write or email to your local councillors directly, which will carry more weight (as not many people do this!). If you do, it would be wise also to copy in the Strategic Director of Resources, Roger Kershaw.