Transport strategy launched for South East

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Transport for the South East have announced a strategy which aims to double the region’s economy in the next 30 years

A plan which aims to double the South East’s economy by 2050 and create new jobs whilst reducing pollution and improving air quality has been announced.

The plan, on which residents are invited to have their say, has been launched by Transport for the South East (TfSE), a partnership of local authorities, transport operators and business groups.

It says that with the right investment in the transport network, the region’s economy could double in the next 30 years as well as cutting the region’s carbon emissions to net-zero. The plan sets out how, where and when money should be spent, as well as setting out policy changes which would make sustainable travel easier and more attractive. The plan includes funding to protect and improve rural bus services.

It is reported that 70% of all journeys in the region are by car, compared to 4% by rail and 5% by bus, therefore cutting reliance on private cars is key to the plan’s success. People are invited to have their say, and a roadshow will visit venues around the South East between 16 and 24 October.

Transport Minister George Freeman MP said: “Improving the UK’s transport network is a priority for the government. The Prime Minister has created this new role of Minister of State for the Future of Transport to turbo UK leadership in tackling disconnection, encouraging decarbonisation and promoting digitalisation which is key to unlocking economic growth, boosting employment and improving air quality.

“Right across the country, we are considering innovative new ways to connect passengers, freight and businesses both within the UK and abroad through a truly integrated transport network. I welcome TfSE’s 30-year vision for transport in the South East and today’s launch signifies a new and exciting chapter in the region’s history.”

Councillor Keith Glazier, Chair of Transport for the South East, said: “Balancing the needs of the economy and the environment is the single biggest challenge we face. But, if we get it right, the prize is huge. Our strategy sets out a future for the South East that is better for people, better for business and better for the planet. We’ll more than double the South East’s economy, creating an additional 500,000 jobs, boosting quality of life and access to opportunities for everyone and cutting the region’s carbon emissions to net-zero.

“To make this happen, we need to work together as one region. That’s why we want as many people as possible to take part in our consultation, to have their say on our proposals and help shape the South East’s future.”

The strategy includes a number of specific schemes, as well as wider policy aims. Wider priority initiatives and policies include:

  • Considering use of demand management policies to improve the resilience of the region’s busiest roads and motorways.
  • Better public transport alternatives on the M25 corridor
  • Better east-west rail connectivity across the South East.
  • Building consensus on how best to improve journey times and connectivity for road and rail along the South Coast.
  • Developing high-quality public transport services on urban corridors, such as Bus Rapid Transit where there is a viable business case.
  • Improving air quality in urban areas by lowering speed limits, reallocating road space to cleaner transport modes and supporting uptake of electric vehicles.
  • Improve road and rail links to support port expansion.
  • Prioritising the needs of cyclists and pedestrians over the private car in urban areas.
  • Developing integrated transport hubs (bus, rail, park and ride, new mobility and cycle parking), integrated ‘smart ticketing’ and integrated timetables where feasible
  • Lobbying government to protect and enhance socially necessary bus services in rural areas.
  • Besides a number of rail projects, specific plans include:
  • Specific priority schemes for the region for future investment include:
  • Improving road and rail links to deprived communities, particularly in coastal areas of East Sussex and Kent.
  • A new Lower Thames Crossing connecting Kent and Essex.
  • Improved links between the M3 and M4, ideally avoiding urban areas such as Bracknell.