The EEH team is supporting colleagues and each other through these challenging times, but we're also not losing focus on global environmental challenges – in particular decarbonising the transport system.
Recently the Department for Transport published a report on how it will develop a decarbonisation strategy. We welcome the Sectary of State's vision and the recognition that there will need to be a fundamental change to the way we all access transport.
The Secretary of State said: "Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network
"The UK will be an internationally recognised leader in environmentally sustainable, low-carbon technology and innovation in transport".
These bold statements are welcome, particularly regarding active travel and public transport, and align well with many of our local authorities' Local Transport Plan documents (LTPs).
It is exciting that the Sectary of State is taking these bold steps and clearly laying out some of the challenges and big changes that we'll all need to make to reach the UK's 2050 targets.
And the document leaves no doubt that big change is required. It features a particularly stark graph, which projects carbon emissions up to 2050 under a 'business as usual' scenario. While emissions are reduced, they still fall far short of zero.
The response to our consultation on the Outline Transport Strategy published in 2019, overwhelmingly supported further action on improving access and to improve public transport provision. Residents, businesses and transport providers all recognise the need for all of us to be able to make better decisions about journeys through better access to information.
We are developing the tools and technology to support our partners and businesses to make better decisions and deploy the right solutions in the right places.
The Heartland is well placed to support the innovation required to facilitate this transition.
We have fantastic public transport providers working across the region and some of the best and brightest companies working in the transport and technology sectors.
Our Transport Strategy (to be published later this year) will help develop the ecosystem for these new approaches and technologies to thrive. Through our work with NISMOD and DAFNI we will show how EEH as a region can contribute to delivering the UK's 2050 targets.
We look forward to supporting the DfT to deliver the strategy, supporting them to collate and consolidate evidence where required. We encourage partners and the public to get involved and to look out for consultations to ensure they have their say.
James Golding-Graham is England's Economic Heartland's Innovation Lead