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About us

As a voluntary partnership of councils and local enterprise partnerships, England’s Economic Heartland represents the key growth corridor from Oxfordshire through Milton Keynes and across to Cambridgeshire. We have a wide range of commerce and industry, but particularly in the field of science and technologic innovation.

Our three and a half million population and 175,000 business together generate around £92.5 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 enterprise with many based in rural or semi-ruramap of England's Economic Heartland membersl areas.

Overall, our economy is successful and we’re a net contributor to the exchequer. But, we have the capacity to deliver more, up to £20 billion more, if we can secure the right investments going forward. This is good for us, but it’s also great for the country in providing much needed prosperity and to develop the UK’s global competitiveness (more information on our region and its potential). 

While geographically, the Heartland area forms a gateway from London and the South East to the Midlands and beyond, our ‘Achilles Heel’ is our current options for travelling east to west across our area – they are simply outdated and are hampering our growth potential. The government recognise this and see the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford arc as a future growth corridor.

We believe that investing in successful economies is as important as revitalising others. Alongside other areas like the Northern Powerhouse and the Midland’s Engine, England’s Economic Heartland is ready to play its role to help the UK as a whole develop an economy that works for everyone.

The original Heartland Alliance grouping launched in December 2014, but has rapidly expanded since then to include all councils with transport responsibilities from Oxfordshire across to Cambridgeshire and representatives from all relevant local enterprise partnerships. The membership directly reflects the Government’s recognition that the Oxford to Cambridge growth corridor will be critical to the UK’s economy going forward.  In December 2015, a Strategic Transport Forum was introduced, which meets in public and also includes representatives from Government, other agencies and transport contractors and providers.

England's Economic Heartland's work programme is co-funded through a combination of contributions from local partners and the Department for Transport.

Strategic Leadership

Strong strategic leadership and collaborative working, founded in mutual trust and confidence are key to the success of the Strategic Alliance.

This philosophy extends from the collective recognition across the membership of the core purposes of this Alliance 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.

The Alliance 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 the Strategic Alliance 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.

The Strategic Alliance leadership

Martin Tett

Martin Tett

Chairman

Leader, Buckinghamshire County Council

James Jamieson

James Jamieson

Vice-Chairman

​Leader, Central Bedfordshire Council

Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Strategic Transport Forum Chair

Leader, Northamptonshire County Council

Leadership members

  • Ian Hudspeth – Leader, Oxfordshire County Council
  • Steve Count – Leader, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Mayor Dave Hodgson – Bedford Borough Council
  • Hazel Simmons – Leader, Luton Council
  • Peter Marland – Leader, Milton Keynes Council
  • Jeremy Long – Chair, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Dr Ann Limb CBE DL – Chair, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Andrew Smith – Chairman, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

The Strategic Alliance programme team

  • Martin Tugwell – Programme Director
  • Adam King – Programme Communications Executive
  • Lyndsey Cox – Programme Executive

​Our Key Priorities

  • Delivery of East West Rail – both the western and central sections
  • Investment in an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway road, recognising that this may be achieved incrementally
  • Investment in the key transport hubs – recognising that high-quality hubs are attractive as a focus for investment
  • Support for the identification of a Major Road Network – a combination of Highways England’s road network and the more significant roads owned and operated by Local Transport Authorities
  • Investment in strategic local connectivity – investing in improved access within urban areas, the so called ‘first mile/last mile’

Other priorities focussed on our wider infrastructure are:

  • Digital and mobile connectivity – ensuring that the digital infrastructure supports inward investment nationally and direct foreign investment
  • Power networks – ensuring that capacity in the network does not act as a constraint on development
  • Commercial viability of sites and utilities – ensuring that investment is made in utility networks ahead of new commercial and housing development
  • Public Services – looking for Government to work with local partners to ensure there is sufficient investment in education and skills development
  • Funding and Financing – realising opportunities to put in place more innovative approaches to funding and financing investment in infrastructure
  • Planning – looking to improve the co-ordination of planning for strategic infrastructure and simplification/acceleration of planning processes as a means of improving certainty for investors ​
 

Timeline

December 2014

Beginnings

Tri-County Strategic Alliance is established

November 2015

Founded

​England's Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance is established

February 2016

STF

​Strategic Transport Forum is established

October 2016

Planning for Growth

Strategic Transport Forum publishes the 'Planning for Growth' prospectus

March 2017

Conference

​Our first regional conference is held at Silverstone

July 2017

Transport Investment Strategy

​The Government specifically references England's Economic Heartland in its Transport Investment Strategy

July 2017

Transport Strategy

Work begins on the evidence base for our Transport Strategy

Summer 2017

STB engagement

EEH engages on plans to become a Sub-national Transport Body

2018/19

Consulting on our plans

  • We will hold a public consultation on the draft Transport Strategy
  • We will develop and consult on proposals to establish a Sub-national Transport Body
  • We will work with delivery partners to develop new mechanisms that improve the delivery of infrastructure improvements.

2019/20

Submitting our proposals

  • ​We will publish our Transport Strategy
  • We will submit our proposal to establish the Sub-national Transport Body

2020/21

Implementation

  • ​The Sub-national Transport Body will be established
  • The overarching Transport Strategy will be implemented
01296 382703 | englandseconomicheartland@buckscc.gov.uk