England's heartland prepares new ground


Regional transport body England's Economic Heartland (EEH) has published its Outline Transport Strategy for initial feedback before a formal consultation in the first half of 2020.

The document provides topline ambitions, concepts and approaches that will underpin the long-term framework for investment in strategic infrastructure and services in the region up to 2050. 


Stretching from Swindon across to Cambridgeshire and from Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire, the EEH area has a population of more than 5.1 million, with its 280,000 businesses employing 2.7 million people. It is a net contributor to the Treasury, with an economy currently valued at more than £155bn per annum.

The regional body will take on the philosophy of ‘decide and provide’ to realise its overarching ambition of frictionless travel across end-to-end local journeys, supporting freight and logistics and benefiting national and international connectivity.

The concept is built around analysing the best mobility outcomes in a collective mutli-modal and digital market, which has the capacity to adapt to changes in geography and the rapid pace of change in society in comparison to the time it takes to bring major infrastructure projects to fruition.

No overall price tag is set for the regional vision in the document, although it states EEH will go on to develop a 'programme of works within an indicative funding envelop from central government'.

It will also explore the merits of seeking a ‘single pot’ approach to investment in strategic infrastructure and services.


Bedford mayor Dave Hodgson (pictured), chair of EEH’s Strategic Transport Forum – which includes elected leaders and cabinet members from authorities across the region - said: 'Future growth must go hand-in-hand with environmental improvements, and investment in the transport system is crucial to achieving this. The way forward cannot be ‘business as usual’ – we must harness the region’s reputation for innovation in order to do things differently.

'The challenges and opportunities facing us are unique and complex. That’s why we want to have a conversation with people and businesses focused around what they believe the transport system needs to deliver in the future. The Outline Transport Strategy is a significant milestone, providing us with the framework for that discussion. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the region’s future to have their say and help shape the detail of our future transport system.'

The group also released a major freight strategy report.

The report recommends a range of solutions including creating structures to support a new approach to logistics such as:

  • Defining and recruiting an EEH freight officer
  • Establishing a Logistics Forum, with potential sub groups
  • Developing a freight engagement strategy

After Transport for the North was granted statutory status, EEH is one of the sub-national transport bodies next in line.

Tenets of connectivity:

The outline strategy provides a series of key summary points, including: 

  • The transport system must address physical, cultural and digital barriers to travel
  • Changes in travel behaviour, led in particular by the expansion of digital services, must shape our future investment priorities
  • Integrated ticketing solutions that provides passengers with ease of access and frictionless travel between modes and service providers will be prioritised
  • Delivering investment in strategic transport corridors will transform travel patterns, improve connectivity and help ensure that the sum of the parts is bigger than individual components
  • Where investment is being made in strategic transport corridors, these should include investment in digital infrastructure at the same time
  • Harnessing these offers opportunities to ensure that economic growth helps EEH achieve a zero carbon transport system by 2050
  • Improved connectivity to international gateways will support business activity by providing access to global markets
  • Shaping the way the freight industry is supported, evolves, and is regulated requires coordination at a regional level

Methodology and inputs 

  • EEH has worked to put in place a Regional Database that gives – for the first time – 'a single overview of what is currently planned for the region'
  • The development of a Regional Policy Scenario Model will provide EEH with the capability of exploring the relative impact of different scenarios and help it understand how the demand for travel differs between different groups.
  • EEH is developing a series of performance indicators, which will enable it to assess 'the baseline performance of the region’s transport system', building on the experience of the rail industry and Highways England. 
  • EEH aims to improve the quality and availability of freight data at the regional level by creating a repository of information to inform future interventions and smarter consolidation 

Major projects

The main projects within EEH's region include East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge expressway.

East West Rail will see services restored between Oxford and Cambridge and between Aylesbury to Milton Keynes. Integral to the overall project is the delivery of improved rail connections to the east of Cambridge, in particular with Norwich and Ipswich.

The Northampton – Milton Keynes – Aylesbury – High Wycombe – Old Oak Common corridor has also been identified as being of strategic importance to the rail network

In February 2019 the Government announced its preferred route for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements, removing the final piece of single carriageway between Milton Keynes and Cambridge, another key road corridor.

An announcement on the preferred solution for investment in strategic road solutions between Oxford and Milton Keynes is expected in 2020 following a non-statutory consultation on options.

The A1(M) corridor has also been the subject of a strategic study undertaken by Highways England during the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1). 

'A key opportunity for the region – and an immediate priority for action – is to deliver an approach that targets bus and coach travel, which are responsible for around two-thirds of the region’s journeys by public transport,' the document states.

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Environmental Improvement Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
We have an exciting opportunity to recruit to the position of Environmental Improvement Officer within Regulatory Services. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Legal Officer - Planning and Highways

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Kirklees Legal Services is one of the largest legal practices in the area and carries out and commissions legal work required by the Council Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Cleansing Operative

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£20.466 - £20.835
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic team of staff responsible for the cleanliness and general maintenance of a wide range of... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Road Safety Engineer / Road Safety Auditor (all levels of experience)

TMS Consultancy
By negotiation
Purpose of the Job Depending on individual experience, candidates will be involved in a range of road safety engineering and traffic management pro... Coventry
Recuriter: TMS Consultancy

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recuriter: Newport City Council

Senior Technical Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £29,636
The successful candidate will feed into the planning process, assessing applications in accordance with the... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Technical Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£21.591 - £25.809
Using your administrative and communication skills to the full, you’ll provide invaluable support across our busy Directorate.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Contract Monitoring Officer (Streets and Grounds)

Wiltshire Council
£24,313 - £26,317 per annum
This is an interesting and varied role involving inspecting and monitoring the condition of the highway Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Green Space Partnership Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£30,066 - £34,538
You will have excellent written and presentation skills including experience of preparation of reports, briefings, minutes of meetings and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Sustainability Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
Looking for two Sustainability Officers to work across the Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy team to create, manage and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Projects Manager

Brent Council
£45,585 - £48,482 p.a. inc.
As Parking Projects Manager, you will be responsible for leading the delivery, to time and budget, of key parking projects... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Parking Operations Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Are you a hard-working individual, who enjoys working outdoors in all weather conditions? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Team Leader (Local Plan)

City of Bradford MDC
£40,760 - £43,662 pa
The post requires a degree and eligible to be a corporate member of Royal Town Planning Institute and NVQ Level 5 in Management or... Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Team Leader (Infrastructure & Local Plan Implementation)

City of Bradford MDC
£42,683 pa - £45,591 pa
The Post provides an exciting opportunity to manage a multidisciplinary team of professionals leading on Transport planning and Local Plan Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 - £42,490
Seeking Environmental Health Officers to contribute towards delivering the project objectives of addressing rogue landlords and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Neighbourhood Highway Engineer

Devon County Council
£36,876 to £40,760 per annum
Seeking an experienced highway engineer with extensive knowledge of highway maintenance and traffic management to... Devon
Recuriter: Devon County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
SCP 13-17 - £11.41 - £12.35
Exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Highways, Transport & Engineering, Road Safety & Sustainable Transport Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Project Assistant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in undertaking complex Air Quality Improvement Projects... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Road Safety Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team.The Royal Borough of Greenwich is commit England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich