Wider South East Leaders to meet with Transport Secretary

3rd August 2017

The Wider South East (WSE) Political Steering Group (PSG) are to meet with the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP on 11 October 2017. Leaders wrote to the Secretary of State at the beginning of July stressing that as we approach Brexit, it is vital that transport investment helps maintain and grow the global competitiveness of the UK’s economic heartlands in London, South East and East of England. The East, London and the South East are vibrant economic centres, together delivering 54% of England’s economic output – some £773bn (GVA 2015). Collectively, the 159 councils are home to over 24 million people, 44% of England’s population.

The Department for Transport has been asked by the PSG to commit to invest in an initial short list of 13 strategic infrastructure priorities that have been collaboratively identified, and to discuss with WSE representatives how councils and partners can work together with government to ensure that these schemes of pan-regional significance are delivered in the interests of our regions and the UK as a whole.

The original letter was signed by Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council on behalf of the East of England Infrastructure and Growth Group; Jules Pipe, the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills at the GLA; Cllr Nicholas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge and Malling council on behalf of South East England Councils and Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on behalf of London Councils.

The collectively identified initial priorities include the development of 13 key infrastructure corridors/schemes which are of strategic importance for the economic growth of the three biggest economies in England. They also offer national benefits: directly, by improving access to markets here and abroad, but also indirectly as a successful Wider South East economy provides economic returns to the Treasury which it then reinvests across the country. Developing these 13 crucial transportation links will not only encourage regional growth but also help deliver government priorities, most notably by increasing collaboration across regional boundaries and making transport between our strong regional economies faster and more convenient. The 13 initial priorities identified are set out below:

Wider South East – 13 Initial Strategic Infrastructure Priorities

1. East West Rail and new Expressway road link (Oxford – Cambridge)
2. North Down Rail Link (Gatwick – Reading) incl. extension to Oxford
3. A27/M27/A259 and rail corridor (Dover – Southampton)
4. West Anglia Mainline and Crossrail 2 North (London – Stansted – Cambridge – Peterborough)
5. Great Eastern Mainline (London – Ipswich – Norwich)
6. Thames Gateway Essex: C2C and Crossrail 2 Eastern Branch (London – South Essex/London Gateway Port)
7. Thames Gateway Kent: Crossrail 1 Extension and HS1 (London – North Kent – Channel Tunnel)
8. Lower Thames Crossing
9. Brighton Mainline (London – Gatwick – Brighton)
10. South West Mainline and Crossrail 2 South West (London – Surrey/southern access to Heathrow)
11. Great Western Mainline (London – Reading/western access to Heathrow)
12. Midlands and West Coast Mainline (London – Luton – Bedford/Milton Keynes)
13. Felixstowe – Nuneaton/Midlands

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