Developing the economy by delivering houses, training and jobs, requires an integrated and resilient transport network (both physical infrastructure and services) that is fit for purpose. Transport connectivity can be considered the ‘glue’ that binds our communities and the economy together. Our businesses require a transport network that:
- Quickly and reliably connects to major employment centres and markets;
- Enables business to collaborate/develop supply chains and customer base;
- Gives people access to wide range of jobs & training opportunities; and
- Is resilient to disruption, providing choice and mode options.
The Marches LEP produced a Rail Study in 2014 which identified a prioritised list of improvements for passenger and freight services in the area, taking into account potential passenger growth, in order that rail can continue to support economic expansion in the region.
In 2016 the LEP developed a report on Investing in Strategic Transport Corridors in the Marches area. The report set out the transport needs of the Marches to establish a better understanding of the key transport corridors which are vital in delivering growth across the Marches. The strategic road and rail network, i.e. roads owned and maintained by Highways England and the rail network owned and maintained by Network Rail were the focus of the document. Key transport corridors were identified as a priority for investment, these strategic schemes supplement local highway improvements which are vital for unlocking development land.
More recently, the Marches LEP has worked together with the Growing Mid Wales Partnership and the Welsh Government to produce a more focused report, a joint Freight Strategy for both the Marches and Mid Wales areas. This strategy provides an evidence base to determine the interventions in the freight sector that will support the economic development and operational efficiency of businesses in the Marches and Mid Wales, while also seeking to enhance the quality of life of its residents and reduce environmental impacts from freight transport activity. The strategy has generated a list of potential interventions for improvement, and a prioritised action plan is now in development.
Growth Deal Infrastructure Projects
Major infrastructure projects funded via the LEP’s Growth Deal with Government are under way in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. More information about these can be found here.
The LEP has supported Shropshire Council’s bid for government funding for the construction of the final part of the Shrewsbury bypass, known as the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road (SNWRR). The Government is currently considering Shropshire Council’s refreshed business case for the SNWRR with an announcement due in the Spring. Further information on the proposed scheme can be found here.
The LEP has also supported Herefordshire Council’s bid for government funding for the Hereford Transport Package including the Hereford bypass. The Council is currently consulting on the options for the route of the bypass and the active travel measures associated with the package. Further information on the consultation can be found here.
Transport Officers Group
The Marches LEP Board has a transport sub-group to advise on all transport matters to support the delivery of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan. More information on the Transport Officers Group can be found here.
Midlands Connect is an ambitious initiative to identify and then realise the transport connectivity improvements needed to maximise the region’s long-term economic growth. Their “Our routes to growth report” sets out priority projects and vision for statutory Sub-national Transport Body status