Release date: 18 December 2019
People and businesses in West Sussex are being urged to have their say on a proposed 30-year transport strategy for the South East which aims to improve journeys, boost the economy and protect the environment.
The strategy outlines how, with the right investment in our region’s transport network, the South East's economy will more than double by 2050 to between £450bn and £500bn per year – creating an additional 500,000 jobs, boosting quality of life and access to opportunities for all and helping cut the South East’s carbon emissions to net-zero.
It has been produced by Transport for the South East, a unique partnership bringing together local authorities, business leaders and transport organisations to speak with one voice on our region’s transport priorities.
A major focus of the strategy is reducing the region’s reliance on private cars to reduce congestion, cut carbon emissions and improve air quality. Today, cars account for 70% of all journeys in the South East compared to just 4% by rail and 5% by bus. It also highlights how better transport links can support economic growth around our key international gateways, such as Gatwick Airport, which are vital to the local, regional and national economy.
To do this, the strategy sets out a 30-year framework to guide decisions about where, when and how money is invested in the South East’s transport network, along with a range of schemes and initiatives to make sustainable travel easier and more attractive to people and businesses. These could include better and faster rail journeys, improved links to ports and airports, a real-terms freeze on rail fares, cheaper off-peak fares and extra funding to protect and enhance vital bus services.
West Sussex County Council is represented on Transport for the South East’s board by Roger Elkins, council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure. Roger said: “Residents and businesses consistently tell us that the transport system in West Sussex needs to improve. This strategy will enable us to take a long-term, joined-up approach to future improvements and meeting the needs of changes in technology and lifestyles. Please have your say to ensure it will meet the needs of the West Sussex community.”
Martin Harris, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member, said: “If our economy is to sustainably grow, we need a transport network that supports faster, more reliable, and less polluting journeys for business, leisure and freight travel. We aim to support the delivery of long-term increases in railway capacity, particularly on the Brighton main line. Transport for the South East has emerged as an effective partnership and I would urge businesses across the Coast to Capital area to respond to the consultation to help shape future investment opportunities.”
The draft transport strategy identifies priorities for future investment by looking at the challenges people and businesses will face in moving around the region and the opportunities these present to support sustainable economic growth.
These include a range specific schemes as well as wider policies and initiatives. For example, the strategy argues for greater use of new and emerging technology such as connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) to boost connectivity. It makes the case for policy changes to enable more joined up planning, particularly between transport and housing, to help reduce the need to travel and build more sustainable communities. And the strategy also recognises that tough decisions will need to be made about how, not if, we manage demand on the busiest parts of our transport networks.
The final transport strategy is due for publication in April 2020, with a strategic investment plan planned for publication in 2021. This will provide a prioritised, costed and deliverable list of schemes, initiatives and policies to start turning the South East’s vision into reality.
Have your say: Please read the draft transport strategy and take part in the consultation. The deadline for responses is Friday, 10 January 2020.