Making the case for rural investment

England’s rural areas are being failed, lacking the support they need to provide countryside and coastal communities with the opportunity to thrive and prosper, says a report published by Western Gateway Sub-national Transport Body (STB).  

Making the case for rural investment’ sets out the mobility challenges facing England’s 9.7 million people living rurally. Poor accessibility and connectivity leaves rural communities suffering social isolation and reduced opportunities, while high car dependency in rural areas along with a need to travel further to services exacerbates carbon emissions.

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. These include:

1. Recognising the diversity of our rural communities and prioritising their needs; 

2. Delivering physical and digital infrastructure to enhance rural accessibility;

3. Rebalancing funding at levels that recognise the extra costs rural places face; 

4. Driving joined-up thinking between organisations to support cross-boundary integrated services; 

5. Providing rural communities with the support needed to make changes focused on their specific needs; and 

6. Promoting the 30-minute rural communities concept to improve rural accessibility and mobility.  

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. 

 For further information and to access ‘Making the case for rural investment’ click here.