Delivery of planned growth in a sustainable way is dependent upon being able to plan, develop and deliver infrastructure investment with confidence and certainty.
England's Economic Heartland continues to work with infrastructure owners and service providers to accelerate the delivery of known investment requirements in the region. This includes committed schemes included in Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy, EEH’s Major Road Network programme and Network Rail’s investment pipeline.
We are also working with Network Rail, the East West Railway Company and Highways England to ensure that their investment programmes reflect the needs of our region.
We are also progressing opportunities to address some of the key barriers to enabling the timely and efficient development and delivery of required infrastructure.
What we're doing
Spending Review (ongoing)
As a net contributor to the Exchequer, investment in infrastructure to support and accelerate the region’s economic recovery, and support the delivery of planned growth, will be fundamental to support the UK economy as a whole.
Notwithstanding the identification of the region as a national economic priority we cannot assume that the case for strategic investments has necessarily been made and the funding secured.
It is clear that the forthcoming Spending Review will be particularly tough. We will use the transport strategy – and its underpinning evidence base – to make the strongest possible case for the investment required to enable delivery in the short to medium term to be accelerated.
Our Spending Review submission will take the following approach:
- Securing the capital funding required to support partners commence the construction and/ or delivery of known priorities before 2025
- Securing the revenue funding required to develop schemes identified in the transport strategy's investment pipeline through the planning and development phase to make them ‘oven ready’
- Securing the funding to increase regional capacity and capability in support of partners developing and delivering investment priorities (see 'centre of excellence' below)
- Ensuring the Government’s commitment to sub-national transport bodies is appropriately reflected by a long-term commitment to their resourcing.
Centre of Excellence (ongoing)
Our work has identified the need to increase the capacity and capability within the region to provide a long-term approach to planning, developing and delivering infrastructure proposals.
Our regional 'centre of excellence' proposal, which will form a key part of our Spending Review submission, is based on our ‘capacity and capability’ work with our partners which highlighted:
- The limited number of schemes developed to the point at which they were ready for implementation over the next five years
- The lack of technical and professional capacity within the ‘client side’ to take oversee the work required to develop scheme proposals
- The lack of access to specialist experience that would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of that work
The key features of the 'centre of excellence' are:
- A (small) dedicated team comprising specialist technical and professional skills upon which all partners can draw to support their development of detailed scheme proposals
- In this way partners will have access to specialist skills without the need to carry as overheads within their own structures, nor without having to secure access at commercial rates from external sources
- As a regional centre of excellence the team would accumulate knowledge and experience that is then retained within the region and to the collective benefit of partners.
The benefit of establishing the regional 'centre of excellence' is recognised by DfT. Securing additional revenue funding from DfT would enable the team to be established before the end of 2021 and would represent an ‘invest to save’, reducing the cost and risk associated with the development of regionally significant infrastructure.
Evidence to Transport Select Committee (2021)
EEH has provided evidence to the Transport Select Committee's 2020/21 inquiry into 'Major transport infrastructure projects: appraisal and delivery'.
Our evidence highlights:
- The need for a 5-10-year indicative funding envelope: We have seen first-hand the added value and benefits realised by Network Rail and Highways England operating within such a framework. Extending the approach to the wider transport system would encourage more effective prioritisation at the regional level. By ensuring the Investment Pipeline is affordable the opportunity would be created to reduce (or even avoid) the need for competitions to be used to allocate the funding available. There is clear evidence that the use of competitions adds inertia to decision-making, adds avoidable costs and delays the realisation of economic benefits.
- Funding mechanisms need to be simplified and focused on delivering outcomes, as opposed to being limited to specific projects. We need to move on from funding decisions assigned by departments operating in siloes of one another.
- Improving the appraisal process: The appraisal system must take heed of the changes to working patterns and avoid excessive weight afforded to the monetary value of journey time savings. It should favour an appraisal system where carbon reduction and outcome led planning are the pillars of transport decision making.
Recent consultation responses
- Transport Select Committee Appraisal and Delivery submission January 2021.pdf
- Joint STB evidence Transport Committee Major Transport Infrastructure January 2021.pdf
- Planning For the Future White Paper - consultation response.pdf October 2020
- ORR Holding Highways England to Account consultation response Final.pdf February 2020
- Transport Appraisal and Modelling Strategy consultation response October 2018
Recent news/ blogs
Recent Forum papers