The sub-national transport body (STB) for the South East has set out its case to become a statutory body with wide powers to improve the region’s transport.
Transport for the South East (TfSE) said powers to set investment plans for roads and railways, reduce emissions, improve air quality and make travelling simpler and easier will allow it to transform travel, boost the economy and protect the environment.
Proposed powers and responsibilities include:
- Rail: Greater influence over rail investment and franchise arrangements
- Roads: Setting the Roads Investment Strategy for the region (jointly with the transport secretary) and various powers to enable the construction of road improvements schemes
- Buses: Various duties and powers to improve bus services for passenger and provide improved alternatives to car travel
- Smart ticketing: Powers to enable the delivery of a region-wide integrated smart ticketing scheme
- Air quality: The power to implement road charging schemes linked to Clean Air Zones
It has made its case for statutory status as part of a draft proposal to government, arguing that this would would allow it to directly influence government decision-making on transport issues on behalf of the region's people and businesses and give it the tools to deliver major improvements.
TfSE chair Cllr Keith Glazier said: ‘The South East contributes more to the UK economy than any region outside London and is our country’s major international gateway for people and goods. When the South East prospers, the whole country prospers.
‘A regional transport body that can directly influence how and where money is spent, with the power to deliver real improvements for people and businesses, is absolutely vital if we’re to continue growing our economy, supporting new housing, improving quality of life and protecting our precious environment.’
TfSE was established in 2017 as a partnership bringing together local authorities, business groups and other stakeholders including Network Rail and Highways England. It said the powers it is seeking would be used only with the agreement of its local authority partners.
A 12-week consultation period on the draft proposal is now underway and consultation closes on 31 July.
TfSE said that pending approval from the its board in September, ‘the intention is to submit the final proposal to government by the end of 2019’.
At present, only one STB - Transport for the North - has achieved statutory status.