ICE South West members have been able to have their say on regional transport infrastructure projects at the inaugural, local, Sub-National Transport Board event.
The event introduced the two South West Transport Boards (STBs), Western Gateway and Peninsula Transport to members, and was an opportunity for members to meet and collaborate with them.
Richard Fish, Chair of the South West Infrastructure Panel (SWIP), said: “The geography of the South West places significant but varying demands on infrastructure vital to the region’s economy and sustainability.
“The ICE established SWIP to promote collaboration between different sectors. It is important to engage with and support the new Sub National Transport Boards in their cause to maintain and enhance our transport networks, both within the region and our connectivity with the rest of the UK and beyond.”
Discussing the main issues
Debates and discussions concerning regional transport infrastructure projects, and their relationship to the wider national infrastructure strategy, took place throughout the day.
The event, held at Somerset County Cricket Club, was attended by more than 70 people and was also a chance for councils, transport and business groups, as well as interested members of the public, throughout the South West, to interact with the two STBs.
The event was open to stakeholders from Western Gateway and Peninsula Transport, and was organised by CIHT, ICE, ADEPT and sponsored by WSP.
Together, as a united group, representatives sought to address the most pertinent issues facing the South West’s transport infrastructure.
One such issue was how to bridge the gap between major transport projects of national significance – such as the A303 – with smaller projects, to ensure there’s an effective regional voice in planning and delivery of transport improvements.
What can the transport boards do in the current uncertain political climate?
The day started with a session led by the two transport boards, during which they provided background information regarding their roles.
This was followed by talks from three of the main transport operators in the South West: Andrew Page-Dove (Regional Director, Highways England), David Northey (Senior Strategic Planner, Network Rail) and Simon Earles, (Planning and Sustainability Director, Bristol Airport).
The focus of the sessions was to address concerns held by organisations in light of the uncertain political landscape and highlight ways in which the South West Transport Boards can mitigate these challenges.
In addition to these talks, Laurence Oakes Ash, from City Science, addressed the issue what the transport industry should be doing about climate change.
The afternoon sessions focused on two key debates. Chaired by members of the South West Infrastructure Panel (SWIP) – an independent group of cross sector industry experts – the first focused on stakeholders’ needs, and what they expect from the South West Transport Board.
This was followed by a session discussing what the Transport Boards will be doing to prepare for the future of transport.
ICE South West will be using the output from the event to help both Transport Boards understand the key issues that their stakeholders want them to address.