Strategic transport group welcomes Hertfordshire and Swindon to its ranks

Swindon Borough Council has officially been confirmed as one of the latest local authorities to join England’s Economic Heartland (EEH), which provides leadership for economic growth in a corridor reaching from Swindon in the west through Oxfordshire and the South Midlands to Cambridgeshire in the east.

Published: Friday, 20th July 2018

Hertfordshire County Council joined the alliance this week and earlier this month Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed that the Council confirm its intention to participate in EEH through its progression into a subnational transport body.

This means 11 local transport authorities now make up EEH, with a total population of over 5.1 million and GVA of more than £143bn.

Cllr Martin Tett, chair of England’s Economic Heartland, said: “We are delighted Hertfordshire has joined England’s Economic Heartland. It will further strengthen our ability to join-up strategic infrastructure planning, and to speak with one, powerful voice on the region’s needs – not just in transport, but also wider infrastructure such as broadband and utilities.

“With Swindon also recently coming on board, it shows the momentum that England’s Economic Heartland has achieved since being formed just three years’ ago. We have always been clear that the opportunity of the ‘Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge’ corridor extends far beyond those cities, and actually runs from west coast to east coast, and from the borders of north London to the south Midlands. We are always open to hearing from authorities who feel they fit into this wider geography.”

Cllr David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Joining England’s Economic Heartland will bring significant economic benefits to Swindon and we are already working closely with other partners within the group to realise the game changing potential of the Oxfordshire to Cambridgeshire growth corridor.

“We have a growing economy and fantastic connectivity here in Swindon, as well as affordable housing and a great quality of life. We want to share all these benefits with other successful areas by making the case for additional infrastructure investment so we can improve travel between east and west, linking up Cambridge with Swindon and the West of England and driving economic growth from East Anglia and the M11 to the M4 and beyond.”

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.

It is an emerging Sub-national Transport Body (similar to Transport for the North) and later this year will be publishing emerging proposals for a Transport Strategy for the Heartland.

By joining the group, the Council will be able to raise Swindon’s transport issues and opportunities with national stakeholders with the aim of making the case for securing additional funding that will benefit the borough.

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