Non-job of the week

February 29, 2012 10:54 AM

Two weeks ago, one of my non-jobs was a Senior Travel Awareness Officer in Enfield. This week Darlington Borough Council is searching for a Local Motion Travel Advisor.

According to the job description the successful applicant 'will provide information and advice on walking, cycling and using buses and trains. Much of this work will involve calling at houses within an area, engaging in a conversation about how people currently travel and identifying where there are opportunities to make changes to help people get fitter, save money or reduce their carbon footprint.'

But where does the funding for this non-job come from? Officers paid for by Darlington council taxpayers spend their time looking for grants to chase. By this example, it doesn't seem to make any difference which grants they chase. The money for this role comes from the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

A total of £560 million is being made available over a four year period, and according to the DfT, the purpose of the fund is to enable the delivery by local transport authorities of sustainable transport solutions that support economic growth while reducing carbon.

In 2004 Darlington was chosen as one of the Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns. The initial funding was £3.24 million over a five year period to deliver 'Smarter Choices.' This involved encouraging residents to make just one journey a week on foot, by bike, or by bus.

Last year the council was awarded an additional £4 million. This money covers a period up to 2015.

Anyone who drives will know there is nothing worse than being sat in a traffic jam. If you are anything like me, you will spend much of it tapping the top of the steering wheel in frustration, looking at the clock, and wondering what time you will reach your destination. I don't to this for fun. If there is a public transport option that fits in with my time scale, I take it. If I have the time to make a short journey on foot, I do. If I have a meeting in a city centre with a railway station nearby, I go by train. I make these decisions without the government pouring millions of pounds of our money into a local scheme. I don't need anyone to knock on my door and run through the options available to me.

According to Darlington Council, the 'Local Motion' scheme has caused a 9% reduction in car journeys. Of course, they can't prove this. All of this could have happened naturally as frustrated drivers opt for quicker and easier ways of getting to work.

Councillors in Darlington are meeting tomorrow to decide whether or not to raise council tax by 3.5%. Not spending money chasing grants and not employing a Climate Change Officer are perhaps more ways the council could save money and not increase the financial burden on local people?Two weeks ago, one of my non-jobs was a Senior Travel Awareness Officer in Enfield. This week Darlington Borough Council is searching for a Local Motion Travel Advisor.

According to the job description the successful applicant 'will provide information and advice on walking, cycling and using buses and trains. Much of this work will involve calling at houses within an area, engaging in a conversation about how people currently travel and identifying where there are opportunities to make changes to help people get fitter, save money or reduce their carbon footprint.'

But where does the funding for this non-job come from? Officers paid for by Darlington council taxpayers spend their time looking for grants to chase. By this example, it doesn't seem to make any difference which grants they chase. The money for this role comes from the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

A total of £560 million is being made available over a four year period, and according to the DfT, the purpose of the fund is to enable the delivery by local transport authorities of sustainable transport solutions that support economic growth while reducing carbon.

In 2004 Darlington was chosen as one of the Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns. The initial funding was £3.24 million over a five year period to deliver 'Smarter Choices.' This involved encouraging residents to make just one journey a week on foot, by bike, or by bus.

Last year the council was awarded an additional £4 million. This money covers a period up to 2015.

Anyone who drives will know there is nothing worse than being sat in a traffic jam. If you are anything like me, you will spend much of it tapping the top of the steering wheel in frustration, looking at the clock, and wondering what time you will reach your destination. I don't to this for fun. If there is a public transport option that fits in with my time scale, I take it. If I have the time to make a short journey on foot, I do. If I have a meeting in a city centre with a railway station nearby, I go by train. I make these decisions without the government pouring millions of pounds of our money into a local scheme. I don't need anyone to knock on my door and run through the options available to me.

According to Darlington Council, the 'Local Motion' scheme has caused a 9% reduction in car journeys. Of course, they can't prove this. All of this could have happened naturally as frustrated drivers opt for quicker and easier ways of getting to work.

Councillors in Darlington are meeting tomorrow to decide whether or not to raise council tax by 3.5%. Not spending money chasing grants and not employing a Climate Change Officer are perhaps more ways the council could save money and not increase the financial burden on local people?

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