Stretching from Swindon to Cambridgeshire and from Northamptonshire to Hertfordshire, England’s Economic Heartland brings political and business leaders together in a strategic collaborative partnership with a shared commitment to realise the economic potential of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and surrounding areas.

We provide the region’s voice on strategic infrastructure and services. Our leadership is focused on addressing barriers to realising our potential.

• We are the Sub-national Transport Body for the region. Our overarching Transport Strategy will be a 30 year strategic vision for our transport system that puts the needs of businesses and individuals at the forefront of investment decisions

• Our work on wider strategic infrastructure is focused on making sure investment in transport, digital and utilities infrastructure is ‘joined up’

• Our work with our delivery partners is focused on identifying investment priorities, getting the funding secured and then delivering improvements to budget and on-time.01 Our Membership.jpg

Working in collaboration with Government and partners across the Heartland, we are committed to creating places where people and business realise their potential, and are able to compete on the global stage for UK plc.

Our 5.1m population and 280,000 business together generate around £155 billion GVA. We have a 21st century economy, particularly rich in high value engineering, science, technology and research. Most of our firms are small or medium sized enterprises with many based in rural or semi-rural areas.

Overall, our economy is successful and we’re a net contributor to the exchequer. However, the National Infrastructure Commission believes our economy could double or even triple in size. But it also warns this opportunity cannot be taken for granted.

Indeed, our success already comes at a price. Economic growth combined with underinvestment in infrastructure and services means that the pressure on our transport, digital and wider infrastructure networks has grown to the point where they operate close to capacity most of the time. The resilience of our networks has dropped, affecting business productivity and making travel for individuals increasingly challenging.

Our transport system continues to be dominated by the legacy of investment that left us with a largely radial pattern of strategic networks centred on London. Travel across the Heartland – and in particular east-west – is hamstrung by poor connectivity and poor integration.

Digital connectivity remains a challenge at a time when lifestyle and business changes mean our demands and expectations of digital infrastructure continue to increase. And economic success brings with it further pressure on wider strategic infrastructure, including power and water supplies.

England’s Economic Heartland is the response of strategic political and business leaders to overcome these challenges, with investment in strategic infrastructure and services key to realising our potential.

File Download - Delivering a World Class Heartland.pdfDelivering a World Class Heartland.pdf

Strategic Leadership

Strong strategic leadership and collaborative working, founded in mutual trust and confidence are key to the success of England's Economic Heartland:

This philosophy extends from the collective recognition across the membership of the core purposes of this model:

  • Strategic infrastructure issues (and solutions) extend beyond any one single area.
  • Issues that are common to one or more areas can benefit from a co-ordinated response.
  • The need for stronger integration of investment by Government, its agencies, local authorities, as well as infrastructure and service providers.
  • To push the case for investment through a single voice and at the right scale to have impact and success.

Our leadership shares a common aim, to look beyond current successes and:

  • Address identified barriers to economic activity (both existing and planned growth).
  • Raise productivity to match, and where possible exceed, that of our global competitors.

To achieve this requires England's Economic Heartland to:

  • Strip away duplication, remove inefficiencies, enable faster, more agile decisions.
  • Simplify funding streams wherever possible so that the time (and cost) taken to develop proposals and get them delivered on the ground is reduced.
  • Provide greater certainty for private sector investors thereby encouraging them to commit sooner to investments with greater confidence.

England's Economic Heartland leadership

Martin Tett

Martin Tett

Chairman

Leader, Buckinghamshire County Council

James Jamieson

James Jamieson

Vice-Chairman

​Leader, Central Bedfordshire Council

mayor dave.jpg

Dave Hodgson

Chair, Strategic Transport Forum

Mayor, Bedford Borough Council

Leadership members

  • Ian Hudspeth, Leader - Oxfordshire County Council
  • Steve Count, Leader - Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Mayor Dave Hodgson - Bedford Borough Council
  • David Williams, Leader - Hertfordshire County Council
  • Hazel Simmons, Leader - Luton Council
  • Peter Marland, Leader - Milton Keynes Council
  • Matt Golby, Leader - Northamptonshire County Council
  • David Renard, Leader - Swindon Borough Council
  • Jeremy Long, Chair - Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Peter Horrocks CBE, Chair - South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Andrew Smith, Chair - Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

The Strategic Alliance programme team:

  • Martin Tugwell – Programme Director
  • Naomi Green - Head of Technical Programme
  • Lyndsey Cox – Business Unit Manager
  • Antony Swift - Project Lead
  • James Golding-Graham - Innovation Lead
  • Adam King – Communications Executive

​Making Things Happen

As a strategic collaborative partnership, England’s Economic Heartland is working at pace to realise the region’s potential by:

• Ensuring investment in digital infrastructure and utilities is aligned to the overarching ambition of realising the Heartland’s economic potential

• Working with infrastructure owners to accelerate delivery of investment in strategic infrastructure

• Agreeing an overarching Transport Strategy which provides a 30‑year framework for the development of the transport system

• Identifying strategically important local authority roads which link people with economic opportunities – and developing a pipeline of investment into the Major Road Network

• Submitting the proposal to establish a statutory Sub-national Transport Body with powers and responsibilities devolved from Government in a way that enables delivery of the Transport Strategy

• Commissioning a ‘connectivity study’ so that communities not on the Oxford to Cambridge expressway itself benefit from it

• Working with businesses and infrastructure owners to develop proposals which meet the needs of the freight and logistics sector

• Working with SME innovators and entrepreneurs to enable the development of innovative customer-focused journey solutions

• Maintaining on behalf of partners the ‘regional evidence base’ that enables a consistent approach to the identification of investment needs

• Working with partners to secure additional investment in strategic transport infrastructure

• Working with Government to ensure our needs are reflected in national programmes, including those delivered by Highways England, Network Rail and through rail passenger franchises

• Working with infrastructure owners to prepare business cases in support of investment in digital infrastructure.