The freight and logistics needs of businesses in and around the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge growth corridor will be the focus of a major new study commissioned by England's Economic Heartland.
The study will examine freight's impact on road and rail corridors both now and in the future. Pinch-points which may benefit from investment will be identified along with a range of other considerations.
Its findings, recommending measures to capitalise on short to long term opportunities, will inform England's Economic Heartland's over-arching Transport Strategy, due to be published in draft form next summer.
Businesses are being invited to input into the study, which will cover the area from Swindon across to East Anglia, and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire. Engagement with Local Enterprise Partnerships is already underway.
The study is the first piece of work to be commissioned through England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Delivery Partners group, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The East West Rail Consortium is also contributing towards the cost of the paper, which will be produced by WSP and Jacobs with specialist input from Transport Systems Catapult.
The impact of economic and housing growth will be a key consideration, as will a review of emerging technologies that may bring new more efficient approaches to the sector.
There will also be analysis of the opportunities for transferring goods from road to rail, including the movement of construction materials. Special consideration will be given to East West Rail's freight potential.
Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum, said: "We all rely on freight in one way or another, either as businesses or consumers, so the health of the sector is paramount to the health of our economy. With the right investment in infrastructure our economy could double or even triple in size. That's why this study is so important.
"We'd really welcome business input into the study – please do get in touch with us. We need to understand your needs both now and in 10, 20, and 30 years' time to make sure we plan accordingly and ensure the smooth passage of goods throughout the Heartland."
A number of workshops and interviews will be held, inviting a range of sector experts to contribute to the study. These will build, where possible, on existing networks and forums.
For more information about the study, contact Antony Swift at email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
England's Economic Heartland works with Government and the private sector to ensure the right investment in strategic infrastructure, in the right places and at the right time. The National Infrastructure Commission believes the region's economy could double or even triple with the right investment, and the Government has made realising this potential a national priority.
There are 11 local transport authorities that make up England's Economic Heartland, stretching from Swindon to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to Hertfordshire. It has a total population of over 5.1 million and GVA of £150bn.
England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum is an emerging Sub-national Transport Body (similar to Transport for the North).