A major new transport strategy for the East of England is taking shape, and residents are being asked to have their say.
The draft regional strategy has been developed by Transport East, a sub-national transport authority covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and the unitary authorities, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. The strategy is intended to ‘guide future transport in the East’ up to 2050’.
The consultation is open until 30 January 2022. Showing a commitment to accessibility, Transport East have provided audio and Easy Read versions of their consultation brochure, as well as a ‘virtual showcase’. The second of two online consultation events will take place on Tuesday 11 January 2022 at 7pm.
Aiming for ‘inclusive and sustainable growth’
Transport East’s overarching vision for the draft strategy is: “A thriving economy for the East, with fast, safe, reliable, and resilient transport infrastructure driving forward a future of inclusive and sustainable growth for decades to come”.
The draft strategy first examines existing challenges for the region, including the lack of a major hub city, dispersed communities, rising emissions, and a rail network which is focused towards London. Bus use lags at half the national average, housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable, and half of graduates leave the region.
In response, the Transport East strategy aims to make public transport more accessible, walking and cycling easier, business and freight journeys more reliable, and internet connectivity more widespread.
The four headline priorities are:
- Reducing carbon emissions from transport to net zero
- Connecting our growing towns and cities
- Energising our coastal and rural communities
- Unlocking international gateways.
Anglia’s core corridors
Six core corridors which ‘play a vital role in the movement of people and goods in the East’ are earmarked for further investment:
- Midlands – King’s Lynn – Norwich – Great Yarmouth
- London – Chelmsford – Colchester – Ipswich – Norwich and Suffolk Coast
- Norfolk and Suffolk to Cambridge – Midlands – South-West
- King’s Lynn – Cambridge – Harlow – London
- Stansted – Braintree – Colchester – Harwich and Clacton
- South Essex – London – Thurrock – Basildon – Southend.
Once the consultation ends, Transport East will analyse responses and review the strategy accordingly, before an attempt to secure endorsement from partner transport authorities. The final strategy is due to be published and submitted to the Department for Transport in late spring 2022.