What is England's Economic Heartland?

England's Economic Heartland is a strategic collaborative partnership between 11 local transport authorities and four local enterprise partnerships. It provides strategic leadership in the long term planning of the region's strategic infrastructure and services, in order to realise the region's economic potential in a way which improves accessibility and inclusivity, quality of life and the environment. England's Economic Heartland is co-funded by its partners and the Department for Transport.

What is 'strategic infrastructure and services'?

This is typically infrastructure (eg roads, rail, airports and digital infrastructure) and services (eg public transport, broadband provision) which are of regional or national importance.

What is England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum?

The Forum is the Sub-national Transport Body for the region and is responsible for preparing and producing the regional transport strategy.  It consists of elected politicians from England's Economic Heartland's member authorities, alongside representatives from local enterprise partnerships, growth boards, the Department for Transport and other public (e.g. Network Rail, Highways England, Connected Places Catapult) and private sector (e.g. transport operators) organisations. The Forum meets regularly, in public, with its agenda, minutes and reports available online. Members of the public are able to address the Forum.

What is a Sub-national Transport Body?

Sub-national Transport Bodies provide advice to government on regional priorities both in terms of national policy and investment decisions at a regional level They provide a region's partners with a collective voice in the planning, prioritisation and delivery of transport improvements, helping to ensure investment decisions are joined-up and take a strategic, long-term approach.

There are now Sub-national Transport Bodies covering the whole of England. In July 2020 England's Economic Heartland published proposals to become a statutory Sub-national Transport Body.

Why is England's Economic Heartland needed?

England's Economic Heartland provides its partners with a single, collective voice in dealing with national government. It is needed because:

  • Strategic infrastructure issues (and solutions) extend
    beyond any one single area
  • Issues that are common to one or more area can benefit
     from a co-ordinated response
  • There is a need for stronger integration of investment by Government, its agencies, local authorities, as well as infrastructure and service provider.

By working at scale, England's Economic Heartland provides both efficiencies and a stronger voice for its partners, helping to ensure the region gets the right infrastructure, at the right time, in the right places.

What geography does England's Economic Heartland cover?

England's Economic Heartland stretches from Swindon across to Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire. This area includes the entirety of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. 

What is the Oxford to Cambridge Arc?

The government has identified the ceremonial counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire as the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.  The Arc has been identified by government as a national priority in response to recommendations from the National Infrastructure Commission.  The Commission identified the region as being one of significant economic potential for the UK.  It warned that the region's future success was not guaranteed and requires investment in improving connectivity.  England's Economic Heartland provides leadership on connectivity issues within the Arc.

Who are members of England's Economic Heartland?

Swindon Borough Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council

Milton Keynes Council

Buckinghamshire County Council

Central Bedfordshire Council

Bedford Borough Council

Luton Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

Peterborough City Council

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (associate members)

Hertfordshire County Council

Oxfordshire LEP

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP

South East Midlands LEP

Swindon and Wiltshire LEP

How is the business voice represented on England's Economic Heartland?
England's Economic Heartland's membership includes the Oxfordshire, South East Midlands, Buckinghamshire and Swindon & Wiltshire LEPs.