The Committee received a presentation from Andrew Summers, Strategic Director, Transport East, on the Transport East Transport Strategy.
Andrew summers asked the Committee the following questions:-
(i) What are your major transport challenges,
(ii) What are your transport priorities; and
(iii) How can Transport East support you.
The Chairman thanked Andrew Summers for his presentation. The Chairman reported that Highways England did not deliver our strategy and that they had had funding since 2014 to deliver improvements to the A47 and nothing had been delivered in Norfolk which was frustrating to say the least and he hoped that Transport East would lobby highways England to deliver projects in the East of England.
Councillor Mogford highlighted the need for a decent road and rail infrastructure to get goods from our ports to the centre and north of the country.
Councillor Wainwright highlighted the green agenda and the need for improvement to public transport, in particular, rural areas to get people out of their cars and on to buses.
The Chairman reported that the A47 Alliance could lobby and asked for clarification as to why Transport East was unable to lobby.
Councillor C Walker highlighted the much needed dualling of the Acle Straight which was one of the biggest bugbears for all residents of the borough and that bus companies needed subsidies to keep services going for rural communities and to provide free bus passes for the elderly. The Chairman reported that NCC provided £7m in subsidies to bus companies and between £3-4m for subsidised bus passes.
Andrew Summers agreed that the current bus provision did not work well outside of urban areas. Post Covid, a Bus & Passenger Transport Initiaive had been circulated to bus providers asking for information and more involvement and changes to operation schedules to achieve an enhanced partnership between Councils & providers and help to secure government funding.
Councillor Candon reported that the Acle Straight desperately needed dualling and wsas concerned how Transport East could assist the Council if they were unable to lobby government.
Andrew Summers reported that Transport East had a direct line to the Secretary of State and could therefore make the united voices of the East of Engalnd heard. he reported that a number of bus companies had come forward and he would get back to the committee with the names at operator level.
Councillor A Wright reported that there were two Freeports in the area which covered North Anglia to South Anglia which touched London and the A120 to/from Felixstowe had received improvements following successful lobbying. He also agreed with Councillor Mogford that vast improvements to the rail freight network was required as at present there was only a single track line from Great Yarmouth to Acle when really, a direct rail line was required to the outer harbour which would never materialise.
The Chairman reported that the tech corridor between Norwich & Cambridge also required investment.
Councillor P Hammond reported that at a more local level, linkages between villages; footpaths and cycleways needed investment to keep local residents healthier and safer and out of their cars. Farm vehicles also needed to be converted to hydrogen to save massive amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
The Chairman thanked the committee for their valuable contributions to this evenings lively and informative debate.
That the Committee note the presentation.