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South East residents help shape thirty-year strategy to transform region’s transport network

South East residents help shape thirty-year strategy to transform region’s transport network

More than 3,500 people, businesses, campaign groups and other organisations from across the South East have had their say on a thirty-year transport strategy to improve journeys, boost jobs, increase quality of life and help cut carbon emissions to net-zero.

The feedback is the result of a three-month public consultation by Transport for the South East – a unique partnership bringing together local authorities and business groups from across the South East to speak with one voice on the region’s transport investment priorities.

An online consultation took place from October 2019 to January 2020, supported by a series of consultation events in towns and cities across the South East. The responses will be reviewed over the coming weeks with the final strategy set for publication in the summer.

The strategy will be used to develop a regional transport investment plan to be published next year. This will provide government and other funders with a prioritised and costed programme of schemes and initiatives to achieve the vision at the heart of the transport strategy.

Cllr Keith Glazier, chair of Transport for the South East, said: “Our strategy sets out a future for the South East that is better for people, better for business and better for the planet.

“With the right investment in our transport network, we’ll more than double the South East’s economy, creating an additional 500,000 jobs, boosting quality of life and access to opportunities for everyone and cutting the region’s carbon emissions to net-zero.     

“To make this happen, we need to work together as one region. That’s why we’re delighted that so many people, businesses and other organisations from across the South East took part in our consultation and helped shape our region’s future.”

A major focus of the transport 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 ports and airports, boost access to jobs in deprived communities and support high-growth economic sectors across the region.

To do this, the strategy sets out a thirty-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.