England’s Economic Heartland

The Chiltern Society’s Planning Group has formed a sub-group to consider transport issues across the Chilterns. As part of this, the Society has been engaging with England’s Economic Heartland (EEH), which is a regional transport partnership covering an area between Swindon and Cambridge.  www.englandseconomicheartland.com The centrepiece of their remit is the development of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, but they will also deal with rail transport and airport developments.

EEH are going to prepare a new Transport Strategy covering the period 2020 to 2050 and have recently consulted the public on the Scoping Report for an Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA). This is a process to consider, in a structured way, the economic, social and environmental impacts of the Transport Strategy.

The Society has submitted comments on the consultation and these can be summarised as follows –

  • The ISA should take into consideration the Management Plans for the 3 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the area, including the Chilterns. This should help to ensure that the attention they are given in appropriate to their national importance.
  • The Strategy needs to consider ways to reduce the impacts of nitrous oxide emissions on roadside vegetation.
  • The Strategy needs to recognise the international importance of the Chiltern Chalk Streams, including the risks arising from additional pollution and water abstraction.
  • The Strategy must recognise the importance of biodiversity networks, and this should extend over all networks and not just those considered to be of special importance.
  • Potential impacts on noise and tranquillity need to be assessed.

The next stage of the process is the publication of the Draft Transport Strategy, which is scheduled for July 2020.