Sub-national transport bodies (STBs) from across the country are holding regular meetings to coordinate strategies and share best practice, while East Anglian authorities are in early talks over forming another potential regional group, Transport Network can reveal.
Martin Tugwell, programme director at England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) – a sub-national transport body stretching from Oxfordshire to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – revealed that the different STBs are now regularly meeting together.
Lavenham in Suffolk
The news comes as Transport for the North (TfN) expects to be granted statutory status in April next year.
Currently the STBs include TfN, Midlands Connect, EEH and Transport for the South East, however Transport Network understands that talks are taking place in East Anglia to establish an STB.
Sources from Norfolk County Council and from the Local Government Association confirmed that early discussions were taking place in the East but that the exact geographical size of the STBs was still being considered. An LGA source said: ‘They are just working out who is in and who is out at the moment.’
Mr Tugwell said: ‘Between us [STBs] we recognise there is learning to share and experience to share. Between the [current] four of us, TfN is obviously just on the verge of becoming a statutory body. That’s great for them and there are opportunities to learn from that.
‘We are starting to meet on a regular basis to have those regular conversations with the Department for Transport, Highways England and Network Rail. It’s really great news in terms of proper strategic planning on the really key strategic issues.’