This month we have news on our publication of ‘Making the case for rural investment’ and reflect on the second STB conference. We share important information from National Highways on their future road plans and consultation, and from our colleagues at Transport East. Plus dates for your diary for the upcoming month.
Making the case for rural investment
Western Gateway STB has published ‘Making the case for rural investment’, setting out the challenges facing England’s rural communities when it comes to funding and levelling up.
In research undertaken by WSP for Western Gateway STB on behalf of all seven of England’s sub-national transport bodies, six areas of focus have been identified that could be transformational for mobility in rural England.
The report suggests key interventions needed to bring about change in rural mobility investment, along with the roles government, local authorities and STBs should play in helping deliver these.
It is hoped the research will be a key document in aiding discussions between organisations about the transport challenges facing people living and working in rural communities across England and the need for investment.
‘Joined up thinking’ at STB conference
The second annual STB Conference took place in Birmingham this month, with the day well attended by a range of representatives from government agencies and the private sector. The conference showcased the important role England’s seven STBs play individually and collaboratively in tackling a range of pressing transport issues including decarbonisation, rural mobility and logistics, and how we are all working together to rethink long-term transport solutions.
Videos from the day are now available, including Minister for Roads and Local Transport Richard Holden MP in conversation. Western Gateway STB took part in sessions on rural mobility and alternative fuels and EV charging, as well as chairing the day’s panel on our relationship with our national partner GBR’s Transition Team and sharing reflections on the day during the closing remarks.
Dates for your diary
The next Western Gateway STB Board meets on Wednesday 28th June at 2pm. Items on the agenda will include the election of a new chair and vice chair, our coach strategy and our revised alternative fuels for freight report, and you can view the agenda, papers and watch the meeting here.
Our fourth meetings of our South West freight forums took place this month. On Monday last week the aviation and maritime sub-group met, followed by rail on Wednesday and roads on Thursday.
Following these will be the South West freight steering group, which meets on Monday 10th July.
For more information email: WesternGatewaySTB@westofengland-ca.gov.uk.
National Highways’ future roads
National Highways has published its Strategic Road Network Initial Report, with the Department for Transport’s consultation on this open until Thursday 13th July. The report includes proposals for targeting improvements across the SRN over the third road period (2025-2030). We will be responding to this important consultation in due course and we encourage others in our region to do the same.
In addition, National Highway’s consultation on its Route Strategies and Connecting the Country long-term strategic plan is also now open, until Friday 4th August. There are five routes directly related to our Western Gateway STB region. Interactive StoryMaps providing accessible detail about the routes can be found here. Again, we encourage your feedback to National Highways on these.
Transport East call for evidence
Transport East has launched a Regional Strategy Hub, bringing together experts to help tackle the most difficult challenges facing transport. The focus of the hub’s first inquiry is rural mobility. Tackling rural mobility has the potential to bring multiple long-term benefits including economic growth, social equity, environmental sustainability and improved quality of life.
As part of its Strategy Hub, Transport East has launched a call for evidence on rural mobility and is seeking views from across the UK. In particular, they would like to hear from young people, further and higher education organisations, and organisations or local authorities who have insight or information to share.
Reply to the call for evidence here.
Also this month
This month we had great news from our local authorities, including active travel funding to improve walking and cycling routes across the region, along with Wiltshire Council’s £2.1m award to improve bus services. There was news from Gloucestershire, where the construction of a new transport hub is underway, while the West of England Combined Authority shared an update on their urban freight e-cargo bike trials.