Sub-national transport body England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) has published an ‘ambitious’ transport strategy which ‘sets out how the region’s transport system can support economic growth while delivering net zero emissions by as early as 2040’.
It has submitted the strategy – Connecting People, Transforming Journeys – has been to the secretary of state for transport, ‘enabling the region’s priorities to shape investment decisions going forwards, as well as being the foundation for EEH to work with its partners, growth boards and national initiatives going forwards’.
EEH, which covers the area from Swindon through to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire, does not have statutory status or powers of its own.
It said the strategy ‘makes clear that enabling growth in a way that improves the environment requires a fundamental switch in the way the region’s transport system is planned and delivered’.
Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of the EEH Strategic Transport Forum, which drew up the strategy, said: ‘Our region is already a net contributor to the Treasury. The Heartland can lead the UK’s green economic recovery and help boost the UK’s position on the world stage.
‘However, our future success cannot be taken for granted. The need for change is compelling and as a region we are committed to delivering that change. In so doing we must also help level up opportunities across our region, so that everyone is given the chance to realise their potential.
‘Our focus must now be on turning words into actions. The strategy will require investment – from Government, from our partners and from the private sector – but as a region we offer investors a significant return on their initial outlay.’
The document, which includes an investment pipeline of infrastructure projects in the region, includes policies to:
- harness the region’s expertise in clean technologies to deliver a greener transport system
- use investment in East West Rail and mass transit systems such as the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro and Milton Keynes MRT as a catalyst for transforming public transport across the Heartland
- champion digital technologies to make transport smarter
- improve local and rural connectivity
- support the freight sector while reducing its environmental impact.
EEH said the strategy’s development has been ‘informed by a robust body of technical evidence, and shaped by two rounds of public engagement with its partners, stakeholders, residents and businesses, ensuring it represents the priorities of the region’.
It added that it will be revised every five years to reflect emerging priorities.
EEH said its current work includes a programme of connectivity studies, which will identify solutions for improving the transport system in a number of corridors across the region, starting with Oxford-Milton Keynes; and Oxfordshire-Northamptonshire-Peterborough.