March newsletter

This month we are looking for SME hauliers to take part in a load-matching trial to reduce empty running lorries, saving fuel costs and cutting carbon emissions.  

We have news on our upcoming issues and opportunities paper, where we will be asking for your views to help us develop our long-term Strategic Transport Plan. Plus how we are moving into the next stage of our work on alternative fuels for freight, shortlisting potential locations for hydrogen refuelling and electric vehicle charging. 

Alternative fuels for freight

Our alternative fuels for freight strategy work with Peninsula Transport STB is about to move into its next stage. 

The long list of potential sites for hydrogen refuelling and electric vehicle charging stations identified in the strategy will be narrowed down to a shortlist of locations to take forward for detailed consideration. 

This will be undertaken on our behalf by Midlands Connect STB who received capability and capacity funding from the Department for Transport to assist other STBs in the shortlisting work. An early version of the shortlisting tool that will be produced for us to use is expected in June 2023. 

Issues and opportunities

We will soon be going out and engaging on our issues and opportunities paper with key stakeholders. This is the first step in producing our long-term Strategic Transport Plan for 2025 to 2050. 

We are focusing on three key issues facing the Western Gateway STB region: achieving net zero, enabling economic growth and levelling up the region. Seven potential opportunities or combinations of them are put forward as the way to address these issues. 

We are keen to know our stakeholder views on the issues and opportunities and what else should be done. The results will feed into and steer the first draft of our Strategic Transport Plan, which we will be consulting on later this year.

Drones and the future of logistics

It was great to see our South West Freight Strategy presented by AECOM to the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) freight and maritime forum earlier this month, kick-starting an afternoon of discussions about the future of logistics and the use of drones.

Our joint freight strategy was published with Peninsula Transport STB last year and details 46 interventions, including the potential of drones particularly for time-sensitive deliveries to hard to reach or rural areas.   

Business plan

At our February Board meeting the Western Gateway STB’s business plan for 2023/24 to 2024/25 was approved. Subject to minor changes this will be submitted to the Department for Transport for approval. 

Our business plan will see our role grow and develop, taking the Western Gateway STB region forward, meeting government objectives and helping our local authorities to produce their local transport plans and deliver schemes on the ground.

New areas of work include providing business case support for our local authorities in developing their major transport schemes, and setting up a regional centre of excellence to promote our innovative work on freight, rural mobility, coaches and cycling. We eagerly await the Department for Transport’s guidance for quantifying carbon reduction and the role we will play in supporting our local authorities in using it.

Freight load-matching trials

The third meetings of our freight forum sub-groups for rail, road and aviation and maritime have taken place, along with our freight steering group. 

Our key stakeholders are taking work forward on lots of projects. At Western Gateway STB we have written to local authority members about safeguarding potential intermodal rail freight terminals in their local plans, so we can continue our work to establish a list of potential sites to move more freight onto rail. 

We are also working on a load-matching trial to reduce empty running lorries and are in talks with Haulage Exchange about how their load tracking services could help SME hauliers in our region at a reduced rate. Please get in touch if you are interested in taking part:

Also this month

As well as regular newsletter updates direct to your inbox, you can keep up to date with our news on Twitter @WestGatewaySTB.

This month we posted news about the £2 cap on single bus fares extension until the end of June, and how the Department for Transport (DfT) are funding £10m for a new net zero transport hub, as well as allocating £200m for local councils to boost active travel.

We shared good news from our local authorities, including South Gloucestershire’s shared project to create a net carbon-negative model for green infrastructure management that received funding through the DfT’s Decarbonising Local Roads competition, and how North Somerset has launched an Enhanced Partnership to improve bus services.

There was interesting reading from CILT, the Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport, whose research revealed rail electrification is possible for 95% of UK freight trains.

You can keep up to date with all our work by following us on Twitter @WestGatewaySTB and subscribing to our newsletters by emailing