Plans revealed for new carbon neutral transport network in the south east

Plans to create a new transport network in the south east of England have been revealed.

Councils, MPs and businesses spearheaded by Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani and East Sussex County Council have revealed ambitious plans to create a fully integrated and carbon neutral transport network in the south east by 2050.

Called Transport for the South East (TfSE) the project hopes to be partially funded through ticket sales and partially from a grant from the Department for Transport.

The project aims to become a statutory sub-national transport body, like Transport for the North which covers 56 local authorities including Manchester and Leeds and was established in 2018.

Transport for the North's powers include producing a strategy which the Government must formally consider during decision making, funding organisations to deliver transport projects, working with local authorities to fund and deliver road schemes, be consulted on rail franchises which provide services in the area, and take forward smart ticketing on public transport.

The project would cover rail, road, air and sea travel projects across Kent and Medway, East and West Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight.

Rather than "planning for vehicles" as has been done in the past, it is hoped Transport for the South East would shift and instead focus on planning for people and places. The plan is the culmination of five years of technical work, stakeholder engagement and institutional development.

It is the blueprint for future investment in strategic transport infrastructure for the next 30 years and sets out the steps to decarbonise the transport system across the region, level up left-behind communities and facilitate sustainable economic growth in the south east.

MP Nusrat Ghani said: "The development of a sustainable and green transport strategy in the south east is of vital importance and I am pleased to be supporting this strategy.

"Transport is the key to productivity and as the region continues to grow, we should recognise it should be given the appropriate infrastructure funding for its roads, its railways, its aviation infrastructure, and its ports.

"I will continue to work with councillor Keith Glazier, with East Sussex County Council and TfSE so we can get the support we need for East Sussex and for Wealden, in particular.

"The south east is a principal international gateway and better transport connections throughout the region will benefit the UK as a whole."

Transport issues in the south east TfSE aims to tackle include:

  • Crowding and reliability issues on the Brighton Main Line

  • M25 and Dartford Crossing congestion

  • Congestion and connectivity issues on the M27/A27/A259 corridor

  • Access to the Ports of Dover and Southampton

  • A shortage of lorry parking and driver welfare facilities

  • Pressure on rural bus services