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South east radial area study

The South East radial area covers the transport corridors connecting the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover to London, as well as serving Kent, Medway and Hastings in East Sussex.

Transport connectivity to and through this area is critical to UK trade post-Brexit and significant housing and employment growth is also planned in the coming years.

A map showing the area that connects the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover to London


  • The need for efficient access to ports for freight and passengers
  • Deprivation, particularly in Medway, North Kent/Thames Estuary, Thanet, and along the south coast
  • Development pressures in the North Kent Thames Estuary area.
  • Relatively poor rail connectivity between London and Hastings, Bexhill, and Thanet
  • Poor highway connectivity between Royal Tunbridge Wells and Hastings/Bexhill
  • North Kent and Ashford housing growth needs to be matched by employment growth (to avoid creating an imbalance in job demand/supply, generating greater outward commuting)


  • Integration of the Lower Thames Crossing and a long-term solution to Operation Stack as well as M2/M20 junction improvements and other initiatives aimed at improving highway access to Dover and Folkestone
  • Opportunity for additional international services, including freight, on HS1
  • Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) extension or alternative connectivity opportunities to Ebbsfleet
  • Rail enhancements to improve connectivity and journey times to North Kent
  • Marshlink line improvements from Ashford and its HS1 station (Ashford International) to Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne
  • Local sustainable transport / behaviour change interventions, and the need for integrated planning

Working in partnership

Partnership working is at the heart of our approach, making sure we capture invaluable insight and experience from stakeholders across the South East as we develop our investment priorities.

This area study is being led by a working group comprising senior officers from local transport authorities , local enterprise partnerships and other key partners including Network Rail and National Highways and protected landscapes.

The working group is supported by a stakeholder forum. This brings together a wide range of groups and organisations including transport operators, active travel campaigners, universities, environmental groups, local planning authorities, business groups and many more. 

South east radial steering group

Department for Transport
East Sussex County Council
Kent County Council
Medway Council
National Highways
Network Rail

South east radial stakeholder forum

Arriva Buses
Ashford Borough Council
Bromley Council
Campaign to Protect Rural England
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Confederation of British Industry
Confederation of Passenger Transport
Dartford Borough Council
Dover District Council
Federation of Small Businesses
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Friends of the Earth
Get Link Group (Eurotunnel)
Govia Thameslink Railway
Graveaham Borough Council
Greater North Kent Partnership
Hastings Borough Council
High Speed 1 Ltd
Homes England
Kent & Medway Economic Partnership
Kent Downs AONB
Logistics UK
London Borough of Bexley

Maidstone Borough Council
Motorcycle Action Group
Port of Dover
Rail Delivery Group
Rail Freight Group
Road Haulage Association
Rother District Council
South East LEP
Sevenoaks District Council
South East Community Rail Partnership
South East England Councils
South Eastern Railway
Stagecoach South East
Sussex Chamber of Commerce
Swale Borough Council
Thames Gateway Tramlink Ltd
Thanet District Council
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council
Transport Action Network
Transport Focus
Transport for London
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
University of Kent