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Transport East sets out investment plan into future transport strategy

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A plan for transport priorities in Suffolk for the next 30 years is set to be published next spring.

The Transport East regional transport strategy will outline key areas in need of investment on the region’s roads, rail lines, ports and airports up to 2050, as well as sustainable transport needs.

A public consultation begins on Thursday, December 2, and will run for eight weeks, centred around four priority areas – achieving net zero carbon, connecting towns and cities, energising rural and coastal communities and unlocking international gateways.

Visualisations of the Lake Lothing Third Crossing. Picture by Suffolk County Council.
Visualisations of the Lake Lothing Third Crossing. Picture by Suffolk County Council.

The strategy is set to feature 55 priority projects for Transport East, which covers Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Southend and Thurrock, and include projects already under construction like the Lowestoft Gull Wing bridge, those in development such as the A14 Copdock developments and Great Eastern Main Line upgrades, and new ideas which have not yet had an in-depth assessment.

Transport East said those future schemes are likely to be around a widespread roll out of electric vehicle (EV) charging points and next-generation rail improvements, but emerging technology around hydrogen would also not be ruled out.

Esme Yuill, communications lead for Transport East, told Suffolk public sector leaders last week: “This is setting the direction for the region’s transport for the next 30 years, and it is really important that we understand the challenges, the issues and the views of our communities as we refine this approach.

“It is also a first step change in the way we have thought about transport regionally in the past, and setting out clearly some of the challenges and new opportunities that exist for the region in upgrading and improving transport networks to really improve the quality of life and opportunities for people across Suffolk and the rest of the eastern region.”

She added that it will “set out clear delivery priorities with a single voice for the region, so that government has confidence in the priorities we are presenting to them and can prioritise the investment across our region”.

Work on the strategy began around 12 months ago and has identified six key transport corridors:

  • Great Yarmouth – Norwich – King’s Lynn – Midlands
  • Suffolk coast and Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester – Chelmsford – London
  • Norfolk and Suffolk – Cambridge – Midlands – South West
  • Harwich and Clacton – Colchester – Braintree – Stansted
  • King’s Lynn – Cambridge – Harlow – London
  • South Essex – London – Thurrock – Basildon – Southend

Among ambitions for the improvements will be reducing carbon-intensive trips, encouraging the switch from cars to public transport, promoting more sustainable fuels, and creating faster and more reliable transport connections.

Others include ambitions for better connections for coastal towns – including cycling and walking routes, shifting freight transport to rail and short sea trips, 100% electrification of rail routes to and from ports, and better transport to and from airports.

The eight-week consultation begins on Thursday, December 2, and available online at www.transporteast.org.uk.

Details on public webinars during the consultation are also available on the website.