April newsletter

This month we welcome a new member to the team, we took a trip to Taunton, and we had our long-term Strategic Transport Plan approved by our Board. Also in this issue: important dates for your diary and updates from our local authorities and partners.  

Strategic Transport Plan approved by Board

Our long-term Strategic Transport Plan (STP) was formally approved by our Board in March. This plan sets out Western Gateway’s transport vision for the next 25 years and we look forward to launching the finished publication in May. 

We will now begin work to produce a list of Strategic Investment Priorities. This will detail the region’s key transport projects needed to support the STP, and we will be consulting on this list later in the year so that all residents, businesses and communities in the region can have their say on which schemes should be included.

TravelWatch SouthWest

We travelled to Taunton this month to share with TravelWatch SouthWest (TWSW) how regional transport initiatives can reflect passenger needs.

TravelWatch SouthWest is the representative body for public transport users throughout the South West of England. At the meeting innovative transport ideas for the region were discussed, recognising the need for an integrated approach to deliver a better network experience for everyone.

We shared Western Gateway’s plans for the year ahead, including information about our rural mobility pilots, upcoming work in coach, cycling, freight and alternative fuels and, of course, the imminent publication of our long-term Strategic Transport Plan.

Introducing our new team member

We’re delighted to welcome Hattie James to the Western Gateway STB. Hattie joins us as a Transport Officer, bringing with her experience from her previous transport roles at the South East Scotland Regional Transport Partnership (SEStran) and Aberdeen Council. 

Hattie has an MSc in Transport and Intelligent Mobility and says: “I’m excited to start my new role at the Western Gateway, where I hope to use my experience to enable me to get involved with the exciting projects the team are working on. 

“I’m looking forward to playing a part in helping achieve the regional transport aims we’re setting out in our new Strategic Transport Plan whilst reaching the national goal of net zero by 2050.”

Dates for freight

We are looking forward to the next meetings of our South West Freight Forum sub-groups:

  • Aviation and maritime – Monday 13th May
  • Rail – Wednesday 15th May
  • Roads – Thursday 16th May 

Following these will be the South West Freight main steering group meeting on Wednesday 19th June, which all members of the sub-groups are very welcome to attend. If you have attended one of our freight forums we’d love to hear your feedback via this quick questionnaire: https://forms.office.com/e/Fk5bKaag1K  

Our South West Freight Forums drive forward the interventions recommended in our joint South West Freight Strategy with our neighbouring STB Peninsula Transport. 

For more information email: WesternGatewaySTB@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

Coach forum in May

Calling all coach operators and interested parties in the South West!

The second meeting of our Western Gateway Coach Forum takes place on Tuesday 7th May and includes a free networking lunch and a tour of Aerospace Bristol and Concorde.

We are delighted to be joined in person at this event by three officers from the Department for Transport leading on the development of the national coach strategy, as well as Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport. All will be looking forward to hearing from coach operators, local authority officers and passenger representatives on the challenges and opportunities for the coach sector in the south west.

Find more information, including a full agenda for the afternoon and how to register here. This is a free event but you must be registered before Friday 26th April to attend.

In case you missed it…

Here’s a round-up of the latest news as seen on our social media channels. You can find us on Xformerly Twitter and LinkedIn.

Gloucestershire shared a short video about their ambitious project to create a 26-mile cycling and walking corridor across the county. 

North Somerset, Gloucestershire, WECA and Wiltshire are set to benefit from the second round of ZEBRA funding to electrify England’s bus fleets, with a focus on rural areas.

This month marks the start of Network Rail’s five-year Control Period 7 (CP7), during which £45.4bn will be spent on Britain’s rail network. Network Rail also reminded us how one freight train can replace up to one mile of lorries

The Department For Transport (DfT) announced £4.65m for bus and coach operators to support the installation of advanced audio and visual announcement systems to help disabled passengers travel with confidence.

The DfT are now consulting on lowering the minimum age for driving longer bus and coach routes. Did you know that while they can drive an articulated lorry with no distance limit, currently a fully trained 18-20 year old driver can’t operate a bus or coach on routes longer than 50km? These new proposals could help ease driver shortages and improve services, particularly in rural areas.

Using an online mapping tool, residents in South Gloucestershire and North Somerset can now drop a pin at the location where they would like to see an electric vehicle charge point in their local area.

A new government competition to help transform the transport sector is giving organisations and academics who are researching innovative ideas to improve transport in the UK the chance to share in £1.3m funding. Applications close on Tuesday 21st May 2024.

You can keep up to date with all our work by following us on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/western-gateway-stb and X, formerly Twitter @WestGatewaySTB and subscribing to our newsletters by emailing westerngateway_stb@westofengland-ca.gov.uk