February newsletter

This issue we have news about two firsts for Western Gateway STB, as we held our inaugural regional coach forum as well as a stakeholder event to progress new rural mobility pilots in our region.

We also have important dates to note, including the imminent STB Conference this month and our March Board meeting, along with updates from our local authorities and partners.  

Rural mobility pilots event

Together with Peninsula Transport we hosted a stakeholder engagement event in January to investigate new approaches to transport in the South West’s rural and coastal communities.

We received positive feedback from this well-supported event and we will now be looking to work with our local authorities to define what pilots should be taken forward and where, with the focus on approaches that can be delivered as partnerships between local authorities, businesses and community organisations.  

You can find more information here, including a ‘Call for Pilots’ declaration of interest form for anyone who would like to suggest a pilot or be part of a consortium working together to tackle a particular rural mobility issue. The deadline for responses is Wednesday 6th March.   

This month’s STB Conference

Our STB Conference takes place on Wednesday 28th February in Manchester. Registration is free and online here.

The annual STB Conference brings together England’s seven Sub-national Transport Bodies (STBs) to show how we can create a more integrated, resilient and low carbon transport infrastructure through developing innovative solutions and facilitating joined-up delivery.

This year there will be discussions centred on EV transition, freight, connecting rural communities and businesses, and infrastructure delivery. You can see the full STB Conference programme here

Our next Board meeting

The Western Gateway STB Board next meets on Wednesday 13th March at 2pm.  

An important item on the agenda will be our long-term Strategic Transport Plan to 2050, which we are currently developing with the help and input of our partners and stakeholders, including our Transport and Business forum. 

You can view our Board papers and watch the meetings here

New coach forum launch

Earlier this month, 33 participants joined us for the inaugural meeting of our new coach forum.

The aim is for this forum to meet regularly to bring together private and public stakeholders to address the key challenges facing coach services in our region as outlined in our Western Gateway Coach Strategy, and identify opportunities for improvement.

If you operate coaches in our area or are otherwise interested in participating in our coach forums, please email WesternGatewaySTB@westofengland-ca.gov.uk for further information.

Freight update

We are now into our second year of running our regular freight forums with our neighbouring STB Peninsula Transport, and recently welcomed attendees and guest speakers to our sixth dedicated aviation and maritime, rail and road sub-group forums.

We also updated our groups on the progress we have made with the recommendations outlined in our long-term South West Freight Strategy, of which two-thirds of the interventions are now underway.

Join us at our South West Freight main steering group meeting at 2pm on Monday 11th March to find out more. Email WesternGatewaySTB@westofengland-ca.gov.uk for details.

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.

Network Rail West shared a video update on works for the new station entrance at Bristol Temple Meads and the new Ashley Down station.

Gloucestershire announced additional evening bus services on routes in Cheltenham. There was also news that the proposed M5 Junction 10 Improvements Scheme has reached a major milestone, following acceptance of an application for development consent by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Great Western Railway is hoping to run direct train services between Bristol Temple Meads and Oxford for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Department for Transport extended the national £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, set an ambitious target to grow rail freight by at least 75% and announced new Plan for Drivers measures including new electric vehicle charge point support.  

Dorset and BCP want views on transport across the county before Sunday 3rd March, to help develop a new transport plan.

WECA announced the Mayor has unlocked £750,000 funding to decarbonise Bristol port industry.

National Highways joined forces with Wiltshire to help improve safety along the A303 at Chicklade.

And congratulations to Bath’s Park & Ride service, which has been ranked second best in a national satisfaction survey.

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