Regional transport strategy recognised by the Department for Transport
The Department for Transport has written to Transport East, the region's sub-national transport body, to confirm government will now give 'regard' to the region's Transport Strategy.
This major milestone means the government will need to take into account the priorities within Transport East's Transport Strategy when developing new policies. The letter recognises that the strategy sets out a useful framework for how Transport East can work together with Government to progress transport improvements in the East. This recognition puts the region on a par with others such as the North and Midlands in the status of their regional transport plans.
The Transport Strategy sets four strategic priorities for transport in the East:
- Decarbonising transport to net-zero by 2040
- Enhancing connections between our rapidly growing towns and cities
- Energising our rural and coastal communities
- Unlocking our international gateways
Transport East is already supporting the region on the path to better transport connections, through work on rail, electric vehicles, a Rural Mobility Centre of Excellence and better data and analysis.
The good news was conveyed to the Transport East Forum at their meeting in Great Yarmouth yesterday, where members also witnessed the fantastic progress being made on construction of the new Herring Bridge.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chair of Transport East said,
"The recognition of the Department of Transport of our regional Transport Strategy is a huge milestone. The ambitious strategy sets the direction of transport for the region for the next 30 years. We want to see a thriving Eastern region with safe, efficient and net-zero transport advancing a future of inclusive and sustainable growth.
With the strategy now supported at both a local and national level, we have a strong base for making the case for investment in our transport networks. Authorities across the East will continue to work together to improve our transport networks for people, businesses and places."
The Transport Strategy has already been endorsed by all local transport authorities in the region and has support of our region's MPs. It was subject to a public consultation in 2022.
Dr Dan Poulter MP, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Parliamentary Ambassador for Transport East said,
"The Transport East Transport Strategy marks a significant step forward for the region. It gives a clear message to government on our transport infrastructure priorities and how they drive economic growth and local prosperity. All the region's MPs are united in the desire and are working consistently to put the East's infrastructure needs front and centre to government."
Great Yarmouth was chosen as the location of the Forum as the town represents all the core priorities in the new Transport Strategy; it is a growing coastal town with ambitions to improve connections. It plays a critical role in supporting the nationally significant offshore energy sector along with moving essential goods including agricultural materials, timber and steel. And like the rest of the region has committed to reducing carbon emissions.
The £121m Herring Bridge is an essential new piece of infrastructure for Great Yarmouth, connecting the A47 directly to the port and offshore energy Enterprise Zone. Alongside improved road connections, the bridge will also enhance walking and cycling routes within the town.
The Transport East Forum members also toured key projects including: the emerging offshore energy Operations & Maintenance Campus, the new Marina Centre and a series of town centre regeneration initiatives such as the covered market, North Quay and The Conge redevelopments, with funding secured through the Levelling Up Fund, Future High Street Fund and Town Deal, as well as planned active travel improvements.
Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Vice-Chair of Transport East said,
"It was a pleasure to welcome Transport East members to Great Yarmouth and demonstrate how transport investment in the town is supporting economic growth, alongside healthier communities and lower emissions.
When it opens later in the summer, the Herring Bridge will be a key link attracting investment to the area, creating jobs and giving local people a better quality of life."
The full letter from the Department of Transport and the full Transport Strategy can be found on the Transport East website