Transport East

Area covered

Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock

Forum* members

Essex County Council, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, Southend on Sea Borough Council, Thurrock Council, 1 district council rep from each of the three counties, New Anglia LEP, South East LEP, Essex Chamber of Commerce, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Highways England, Network Rail

*Forum - this term is sometimes used by other transport bodies to represent a broader stakeholder group.  It is more of a board here.

Lead / hosting authority

Suffolk County Council

Statutory Status

Non-statutory

Transport Strategy

Transport East concluded the consultation on its draft Transport Strategy on 30 January, 2022.

Our thoughts on the draft Transport Strategy were as follows:

The strategy contains a lot of good ambitions and priorities but it is fundamentally flawed. It contains no road transport carbon budget (or even an overall regional budget) or pathway that can be used to assess whether the strategy is on track to reduce carbon emissions quickly enough. No modelling is done for different climate scenarios which could have a severe impact on the various economic and traffic scenarios that are used to predict the future.

It also contains significant road building ignoring the impact this will have on driving up traffic, congestion and emissions, instead claiming new roads will do the opposite. There is no consideration given to how new roads, which make it easier and cheaper to drive, will undermine public transport. This is pretty fundamental given the desire for modal shift but is completely ignored. While there is mention of demand management, there isn’t much detail as to how this might work, how impactful it would be and how it squares with expanding road capacity and making driving easier and cheaper.

Overall, we strongly support:

  • 2040 net-zero target
  • Support for active travel and public transport and modal shift
  • Focus on shifting freight from road to rail
  • Vision Zero (road safety) ambition
  • Reducing the need to travel

We strongly object to:

  • Lack of carbon budget or pathway to net-zero
  • Monitoring carbon emissions on a 3 – 5 year cycle (we don't have that long!)
  • Substantial road building proposed
  • Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (which fails to highlight many issues)

None of this is helped by a poorly drafted Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) which does not properly assess the wider impacts of road building, particularly on traffic levels and short to medium term carbon emissions, nor how this will undermine public transport and active travel. This will then compromise attempts to achieve modal shift and reach net-zero by 2040.

The ISA also fails to fully consider equality and health issues, often giving road building positive scores for these when those most disadvantaged don’t own a car and need investment in sustainable alternatives to improve their outcomes. Additionally, increasing car use will lead to a more sedentary lifestyle amongst the population, increasing pressure on the NHS. It certainly can't be described as a positive outcome.

TAN's full response expands on these points as well as highlighting other concerns.

More information about Transport East can be found on their website.

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