The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) has welcomed the Department of Transport (DfT)'s response to the Eddington Transport Policy Review and the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System', issued this week.
The response, unveiled by Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly, outlined a new framework to deliver a transport system to support the economy and reduce carbon emissions.
Since the Eddington Transport Policy Review, published during December 2006, which highlighted the importance of transport investment to the UK economy, SEEDA and the other eight English Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been working closely to assist Sir Rod Eddington in identifying the transport priorities for both the country and the respective regions.
SEEDA fully supports the key recommendations within the Government's response this week's of focussing investment on improving the capacity of access to our international gateways and reducing congestion on our inter-urban links. The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) 2006-2016 for the South East identifies the need to reduce CO2 emissions and our ecological footprint, putting SEEDA in the right place to help deliver transport schemes of regional and national economic importance and engage the private sector along with other potential funding streams.
SEEDA Chairman James Brathwaite is keen for SEEDA and the other RDAs to continue to work closely with the DfT on driving forward the delivery of a greener and more sustainable transport agenda. He says; “We already have a very successful track record delivering vital economic transport projects with DfT, utilising the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) mechanism which delivered the recent rail freight gauge enhancement project between the port of Southampton and the Midlands. This project demonstrated how the public and private sector can come together to develop a meaningful funding package which can bring a vital transport project forward for earlier delivery.”
SEEDA's Head of Transport and Infrastructure Detlef Golletz says; “SEEDA is particularly encouraged by Ruth Kelly's announcement that Government is minded to look further into extending the high speed rail services into Birmingham and increase the capacity of some of our motorways. SEEDA is the lead partner in two European projects which are already making transport investments of a total of €30m in improving access to the existing high speed services in Kent, London and the Continent. As part of these, the European Commission has just approved a further extension of the projects to look at the feasibility and cost of taking HST beyond London. SEEDA and the RDAs in the Midlands and Northern England would very much welcome close co-operation with DfT on this matter, utilising the European funding.”
SEEDA is already working with businesses, economic partnerships, the Berkshire Strategic Transport Forum, GOSE and the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) on improving the capacity of the M4 corridor, helping the Thames Valley economy to access Heathrow. A first scoping report by Deloitte highlighted the absolute economic priority of investing in the M4's greater capacity as Heathrow is the economic gateway to the global economy.