Decision details

Consultation response for England's Economic Heartland's Draft Transport Strategy

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader of the Council (Statutory)

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes




England’s Economic Heartland is consulting on a Draft Transport Strategy which runs until 6 October 2020. England’s Economic Heartland is a Sub-national Transport Body – an organisation which seeks to provide strategic transport governance at a larger scale than existing local transport authorities, by grouping councils together. It represents a region which covers Swindon, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Herefordshire, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. England’s Economic Heartland represents 5.1m population and 280,000 businesses and works in collaboration with government and partners in the heartland focusing on strategic infrastructure and identify investment priorities in the region. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is not a member of EEH but has Associate Member status. Cambridgeshire County Council is a member of EEH.


The key principles of the Draft Transport Strategy are as follows:

• Achieving net-zero carbon emissions from transport no later than 2050

• Improving quality of life and wellbeing through an inclusive transport system accessible to all which emphasises sustainable and active travel

Supporting the regional economy by connecting people and businesses to markets and opportunities

• Ensuring the Heartland works for the UK by enabling the efficient movement of people and goods through the region and to/from international gateways.


Consultation response

A summary of the proposed consultation response is included below. The detailed response which is proposed to be submitted is included as appendix 1 to this decision.


The response has been drafted as a joint response with Cambridge City Council.


The consultation response considers the document under a number of headings which relate to topics in the Draft Transport Strategy.


Net Zero carbon to 2050 


The focus in the document on achieving net zero carbon by 2050 is supported. In particular, the polices relating to delivering electrification on the East West Rail route, the focus on rail freight to reduce carbon emissions by reducing road traffic and the focus on digitalisation to reduce the need to travel are supported.


Biodiversity and Environmental Net Gain

The strategy should be more ambitious in dealing with biodiversity in the region and it is recommended that Biodiversity/Environmental Net Gain be explicitly referenced in the strategy’s Key Principles. 


Wellbeing and Social Inclusion 

The inclusion of Improving quality of life and wellbeing through an inclusive transport system as a Key Principle of the Draft Transport Strategy is welcomed but the document should be more explicit in promoting active travel opportunities as part of strategic transport interventions.


Mobility for the Future  

The document recognises the importance of strategic transport schemes such as East-West Rail and the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro which are supported. We note that the CAM is intended to support the Greater Cambridge sub-region as a whole rather than being a Cambridge-only scheme as referenced in the document. Further clarification is requested in relation to the Southern Arc rail link referenced in the document which suggests a rail link between Buckinghamshire, southern Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire but with no detail is provided. The reference to the M11 Junction 13 Cambridge West as a supported project is welcomed.


Rural connectivity

The strategy’s focus on improving rural connectivity, both physical and digital connectivity of rural communities to jobs and services, is supported and will feed into the Key Principle of the strategy to Improve quality of life.


The role of the Local Authority

The document recognises the need to work with Local Authorities to use the opportunities created by investment in strategic transport infrastructure and services to shape the location of future economic and housing growth proposals. Both Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have recently sought to engage with England’s Economic Heartland under the Greater Cambridge Duty to Cooperate & Statement of Common Ground Proposed Approach for the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan and provided the proposed approach for comment. 


Next Steps

Once agreed by Executive Councillor for - Strategic Planning and Transport  at South Cambridgeshire District Council and the Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety at Cambridge City Council (in conjunction with Chair and Spokes of Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee) the consultation response will be submitted to England’s Economic Heartland and a record of the decisions will be published on both websites.


To confirm that the response set out in Appendix 1 of this decision should be made to England’s Economic Heartland’s consultation on it’s Draft Transport Strategy.

Reasons for the decision:

To provide the views of South Cambridgeshire District Council on the consultation.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1: To not agree the proposed response to the consultation.


Option 2: to not seek a joint response with Cambridge City Council


Reason for rejection: the consultation offers an opportunity to feedback on proposals which could have significant impacts on planning and transport in the Greater Cambridge area.

Publication date: 01/10/2020

Date of decision: 24/09/2020

Effective from: 09/10/2020

Accompanying Documents: