Transport East welcomes government funding commitments to improve transport across the East
Transport East has welcomed the financial investment and commitment from Government to improve roads, rail, buses and rural mobility. This follows the announcement that schemes in the East will benefit from the reallocation of funds previously committed to the second phase of HS2, and the release of the Future of Transport: Rural Strategy report.
£180 million has been committed to support road schemes across the East of England. Several of these are schemes that Transport East identify as being pivotal in improving connections within and between urban areas. Schemes referenced by the Government include:
Norfolk: A140 Long Stratton bypass, Norwich Western Link and A10 West Winch.
Suffolk: A12 Improvements (Formerly A12 East of Ipswich and A12 Woodbridge schemes).
Essex: Army and Navy Flyover, Chelmsford and A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange.
Transport East recently briefed MPs on the current challenges on the region’s road network, and the social and economic benefits that can be generated from delivering identified projects.
The commitment to fund rail upgrades at Ely and Haughley has also been greatly received. Our partnership has formally advised government for this much needed upgrade to a nationally important rail freight corridor on the network, along with regional politicians, businesses, and the neighbouring STB England’s Economic Heartland.
It was also announced that the £2 bus fares have been extended until December 2024. This fare cap has a greater benefit for rural communities due to the difference with standard fares and with a high rural population in the East, the extension is particularly welcomed. Having an affordable and sustainable way to make journeys is essential to many people who have no access to private transport.
This week the Department for Transport also revealed its strategy to improve rural mobility in the future. Transport East is the centre of excellence on rural mobility and the Government pledges to continue working with Transport East to support our joint ambitions to improve connections for people across rural communities.
Transport East’s Chief Executive, Andrew Summers said:
“This week we’ve received a huge number of commitments to improve transport across the East and on behalf of our partners, I welcome the undeniable benefits they will collectively bring.
“Roads are critically important to connect people and businesses to the services they require. They are part of a wider programme of transport initiatives which includes rail, bus and active travel schemes to unlock the region’s economic potential while supporting net zero ambitions.
“This week’s announcement follows Transport East’s engagement with partners and our formal advice to Government on the region’s important road priorities. These schemes will improve local journeys and help manage movements in growing communities.
“The Ely and Haughley upgrades mean businesses will benefit from extra rail freight services to and from Felixstowe. These will remove 98,000 lorry journeys off the road each year, reducing congestion and carbon emissions. More passenger services between Ipswich and Peterborough, and to King’s Lynn can also be delivered, further helping to decarbonise transport and connect people.
“The commitment to keep £2 bus fares, and a strategy for improving rural mobility, provides confidence that Government is taking rural mobility seriously. A third of people in the East live in a rural community and providing innovative and sustainable transport methods is key to ensuring they thrive.
“We look forward to working closely with the government and local partners to see these commitments progress quickly to on the ground improvements.”
Detail on the Government’s investment commitments is available on the Department for Transport’s website, here.
Our joint statement with England’s Economic Heartland on the funding for Ely and Haughley rail upgrades.
The full name of the DfT strategy is Future of Transport: Helping local authorities to unlock the benefits of technology & innovation in rural transport and is available here. The pledge to work with Transport East is on p56.
Further information on Transport East’s role as STB lead in rural mobility and the centre of excellence is available here.