Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee

Agenda Item 30


Subject:                    Transport for the South East’s Strategic Investment Plan – Response to consultation


Date of meeting:    20th September 2022


Report of:                 Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture


Contact Officer:      Name: Andrew Renaut

                                    Tel: 01273-292477

                                    Email: andrew.renaut@brighton-hove.gov.uk


Ward(s) affected:   All


For general release



1.            Purpose of the report and policy context


1.1         The Council holds membership on the Board of Transport for The South East (TfSE), the Sub-national Transport Body established in 2017. Further to the adoption of the TfSE Transport Strategy in 2020, TfSE published its draft Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for consultation on 20th June 2022. The document provides a framework for investment in strategic transport infrastructure, services, and regulatory interventions across the South East in the coming three decades. It will assist local authorities in seeking funds for delivery of local transport improvements across the region as part of the wider strategy.


1.2         The consultation seeks to measure the levels of support for the draft SIP and the period for comments closed on 12th September 2022.  Recognising that not all local authorities will have considered and formalised their responses by that date, TfSE has requested that draft responses were submitted within the consultation period. This report includes the draft response submitted by officers on behalf of the Council.


2.            Recommendations


2.1         That Committee notes the progress being made on developing Transport for the South East’s Strategic Investment Plan.


2.2         That Committee notes the Council’s consultation response set out in Appendix 1, which was submitted on 12th September 2022.






3.            Context and background information


3.1         Transport for the South East (TfSE) is the Sub-national Transport Body for the South East of England, covering the area from Kent to Berkshire and Hampshire, including East and West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, and the Solent. TfSE was established in 2017 to determine what transport infrastructure is needed to boost the region’s economy. The partnership is made up of 16 local authorities, five local enterprise partnerships plus representatives of district and borough authorities, protected landscapes and national delivery agencies including National Highways and Network Rail. Although the Government decided not to progress with a request by TfSE for statutory status in 2020, the Board will continue to work with Government to identify the best time to put forward its case, which will be further strengthened through the development of the SIP.


3.2         In 2017, the Council and other partners across the region commenced working with TfSE to identify issues, challenges and opportunities, which informed a 30-year transport strategy for the region, adopted in 2020. This followed a consultation exercise reported to this Committee on 21st January 2020. The TfSE transport strategy sets out the strategic goals, priorities and principles behind the transport vision, along with a strategy for different types of journeys such as radial, orbital and coast, local and freight. The strategy is built around the vision of becoming a leading global region for net-zero carbon, sustainable growth and enhanced environmental quality.  This will be delivered by creating a high quality, safe, accessible, reliable transport network.


3.3         On 20th June 2022, TfSE launched its draft Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), which provides a framework for investment in strategic transport infrastructure, services, and regulatory interventions in the coming three decades. It sets out a comprehensive picture of the investment needed in the South East to unlock sustainable economic growth, improve quality of life and deliver the net zero carbon commitment. It proposes what needs to happen and why, along with where, when and how the investment will be delivered, and the funding levels needed to make it happen. It is supported by the evidence base collated through the area, alongside thematic and other studies undertaken. These include decarbonisation and active travel/ micromobility studies, and the South Central Radial and the Outer Orbital studies, both of which include the Brighton & Hove area, and form the basis for two of the four geographical areas for investment packages identified in the SIP.


3.4         The SIP proposes a total capital cost of £45 billion over 27 years, with the transport interventions forecast to generate 21,000 new jobs, an additional £4.1billion growth in GVA a year by 2050, and 1.4 mega tonnes less CO2 equivalent emitted. It is also forecast to deliver on weekdays an additional 550,000 rail trips, 1.6 million bus, mass transit and ferry trips, and take more than four million car trips a day off the roads of the South East.


3.5         The draft SIP presents a total of 24 packages of investment opportunities across the rail, mass transit (e.g. buses, ferries), active travel (e.g. walking, wheeling, cycling) and highways. These are supported by the following set of eight investment priorities:

·         Decarbonisation and environment

·         Adapting to a new normal

·         Levelling up left behind communities

·         Regeneration and growth

·         World class urban transport systems

·         Transforming east-west connectivity

·         Resilient radial corridors

·         Global gateways and freight


3.6         The proposed set of global policy interventions are designed to address the challenges and opportunities that affect the whole of the South East and the wider UK. These are:

·         Decarbonisation – a faster trajectory towards net-zero than current trends

·         Public transport fares – reverse the real term increase in costs relative to motoring

·         New mobility – increased use of e.g. electric bikes and scooters

·         Road user charging – encourage the Government to develop a national charging system to provide an alternative source of funding to fuel duty

·         Virtual access – increased virtual working to help reduce demand for travel

·         Integration – improvements in integration across and between all modes of transport in terms of infrastructure, services, ticketing, and accessibility


3.7         The proposed interventions for the Solent and Sussex Coast area (an east-west corridor spanning from the New Forest to Hastings) most relevant to the Brighton & Hove area are summarised in paragraphs 3.8 to 3.11.


3.8         Sussex Coast Rail Package

Delivery of the package of improvements in the West Coastway Strategic Study (developed by Network Rail working with local authorities) to deliver faster journeys and more capacity between Brighton & Hove and Southampton


3.9         Sussex Coast Active Travel Package

Helping local authorities realise the delivery of ambitious plans to improve cycling and walking (including wheeling) in their areas, including Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs)


3.10      Sussex Coast Mass Transit Package

·         Sussex Coast Mass Rapid Transit – extension of the proposed Greater Brighton mass transit (an express bus-based system connecting Brighton to Shoreham and Worthing) into East Sussex to Lewes. This would provide faster and more frequent services, and improved service quality including accessibility and information

·         Strategic Mobility Hubs – indicative locations adjacent to the strategic road network on the periphery of the city at Falmer and Patcham, to provide better strategic interchange and intercept trips heading into the city. One is also proposed for the Shoreham area


3.11      Solent and Sussex Coast Highways Package

Targeted interventions to deliver high-quality east-west connections for freight, private and mass transit vehicles. These are to address safety and air quality issues, notably in urban areas, and reduce conflicts between local and longer-distance traffic. They should support (and be supported by) public transport and active travel improvements, including through roadspace reallocation

·         A27 junction enhancements at Hangleton, Devil’s Dyke, Hollingbury and Falmer – these are City Plan Part 1 development mitigation schemes to better regulate and manage flows, and improve safety

·         A259 South Coast Road Corridor (Eastbourne to Brighton) to enhance access to public transport and to enable people to cycle or walk for all or part of their journeys, and localised road and junction capacity improvements (East Sussex led study)

·         A259 (King’s Road) Seafront Highway Arches/Structures Renewal Programme – the Council has bid to secure funds from the Government for this as the A259 is part of the Major Road Network


3.12      The proposedinterventions for the London to Sussex Coast area (covering the key corridors between London and the coast from Chichester to Eastbourne) are summarised in paragraphs 3.13 to 3.16 below.


3.13      London to Sussex Coast Rail Package

This package is to address key bottlenecks on the Brighton Main Line, enabling faster, more reliable services. Included in the package are the following interventions:

·         Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme

·         Brighton Main Line 100mph Operation

·         Brighton Station - Additional Platform

·         East Coastway Line (Brighton to Eastbourne/Hastings) - Faster Services

·         Brighton Main Line - Reinstate Cross Country Services


3.14      London to Sussex Coast Mass Transit

This package will deliver infrastructure improvements and increased service frequency to bring transformational growth in bus journeys. It focuses on building on the success of the Fastway bus rapid transit system in Crawley/Gatwick, but includes:

·         A23 Corridor Rural Bus Service Enhancements – improvements between Burgess Hill and Brighton, linking into the proposed Patcham Strategic Mobility Hub (included in Sussex Coast Mass Transit Package above)


3.15      London to Sussex Coast Active Travel

This package expands on current local authority plans (including LCWIPs) by delivering improvements to the National Cycle Network routes and a continued rollout of regional cycleways with consistent branding and wayfinding. It includes a new London to Brighton National Cycle Network Corridor intervention


3.16      London to Sussex Coast Highways

This package includes interventions that support access to international gateways, regeneration areas, and placemaking. It also includes junction improvements and possible new roads to help relieve pressure on the existing network. A23/A27 Patcham Interchange Junction Enhancements is one of the interventions to better regulate and manage flows, and improve safety to support planned growth in the City Plan.


3.17      TfSE notes that with the overall SIP delivery programme costing an average of over £1.5bn a year, the principal financial challenge will relate to funding (i.e. how the projects are ultimately paid for over time). Addressing this challenge will involve both making the best use of funds directed from government, and identifying new and innovative approaches. For many of the proposed interventions, financing (i.e. how and from whom the cash is raised to meet the costs of construction as they arise) will also play an important role in ensuring value-for-money delivery.


3.18      TfSE compares the proposed future investment (the SIP and assumed additional local expenditure) in transport in the South East, with illustrative future growth scenarios based on actual levels of Government spend since 2011-12. It expects that, even if transport spend were to grow at a slower rate than the historic average, the majority of the overall core programme could theoretically be supported within an illustrative envelope of potential future central funding.


3.19      TfSE will work closely with partners to develop and deliver the packages of interventions; schemes within the city will be progressed locally, with decisions on delivery made by the Council. TfSE cannot mandate implementation of any of the interventions within the geography of the city, or indeed any of the other Local Transport Authority (LTA) areas, without their agreement; TfSE has no jurisdiction or legal role over any LTA, who will have sovereignty over their respective area. The vast majority of interventions included in the packages will be delivered through existing frameworks and investment cycles, in line with the government’s Treasury Green Book and Department for Transport’s appraisal guidance. Timing the delivery of each intervention will need careful consideration.


3.20      TfSE and its partners will establish appropriate governance to oversee the development, delivery and benefits realisation arising from interventions included in the strategy. It will develop a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with targets which will be used to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategy.


3.21      An Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) was originally produced alongside the preparation of the Transport Strategy (2020) to promote sustainable development by assessing environmental, social and economic effects, as well as mitigating any potential adverse effects that the Transport Strategy might otherwise have. An ISA has been embedded within the staged development of the area studies that inform the draft SIP. Since the interventions are still conceptual at this stage, and further information such as land-take and design are not known, assumptions have been made in undertaking the high-level appraisal; further assessment of impacts will be required as the detail of individual interventions is developed.


3.22      The next steps set out in the SIP document are to:

·         Identify and support key interventions that require additional support and capacity

·         Secure higher levels of transport investment in the South East’s strategic transport network

·         Support TfSE’s key stakeholders in responding to and overcoming emerging transport challenges.


3.23      The consultation on the draft SIP closed on 12th September 2022.  Those local authorities which were unable to submit a formally approved response by this date were asked to submit a draft response.  The submission made is provided in Appendix 1. The consultation provided an opportunity to submit feedback on the proposed investment priorities, the global policy package of interventions, and those for the geographical areas, including the Solent and Sussex Coast and London to Sussex Coast. It also sought feedback on the benefits and costs set out of the packages, the likelihood of them delivering the SIP priorities, the strength of the case made for transport investment in the region, and seeks comments on the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal.


3.24      The response in Appendix 1 reflects that the proposed packages include measures for the Brighton & Hove area that are considered to be broadly consistent with those in the Council’s existing strategies/plans/policies for the city (such as the Corporate Plan, Carbon Neutral Programme, City Plan, and existing and emerging LTPs).  However, it also recognises that the SIP does not reflect the need for urgent action to respond to the Council’s most pressing issue – the climate emergency.  There are also some concerns that some significant highway improvement schemes (i.e. new road construction and capacity improvement projects included elsewhere in the National Highways’ Roads Investment Strategy, which is already agreed by the Government and encompassed within the total expenditure set out earlier in the report) could increase traffic levels around the city, have a detrimental impact on the South Downs National Park, and affect the outcomes of other local transport initiatives and other priorities for the city.  The response has also included the need for more emphasis on reducing traffic, increasing public transport, stronger and more comprehensive Active Travel packages (including improvements to existing cycling corridors), local mobility hubs, more detail on new mobility, and more prominence given to safety in the investment priorities.


4.            Analysis and consideration of alternative options


4. 1      It is considered essential that the Council continues to engage with, and participate in, the work of TfSE in order to influence its direction of travel and how it bridges the gap between national and local government.  Responding to this consultation is an example of how this can be achieved.  It is recognised that the SIP supports TfSE’s overall transport strategy and is based on a significant amount of evidence, technical work, studies and stakeholder engagement.  Proposed measures are integrated within packages across different forms of transport including road, rail, active travel and public transport.    


5.            Community engagement and consultation


5.1         The draft SIP was launched on 20th June 2022 for a 12-week consultation period, ending on 12th September 2022, during which three public consultation events took place, one of which was attended by a transport officer. The consultation was extensively promoted across the TfSE region and beyond its boundaries through various channels including social media.


5.2         The background to the SIP has been discussed at the city’s Transport Partnership (July 2022), in connection with the council’s Carbon Neutral Programme, and at the TfSE Partnership Board, which includes councillors from all local authorities.


6.            Conclusion


6.1         The draft SIP sets out the case for investing in transport infrastructure in the South East over the next three decades, which will assist in seeking funds for delivery of local transport improvements across the city. It includes a number of priorities and interventions included in the Bus Service Improvement Plan, Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and interventions that form part of the City Plan and initial work on developing the Council’s fifth Local Transport Plan (LTP5).


6.2         Proposed local measures will help support the city’s recovery from Covid-19, wider planned economic growth, the visitor economy, and social cohesiveness. They reflect proposals within a number of local strategies and plans and will also contribute to some of the aims and priorities of the Greater Brighton City Region area. However, the SIP does not reflect the need for urgent action to respond to the Council’s most pressing issue – the climate emergency.  On balance, the response therefore concludes that there is neither agreement or disagreement regarding the delivery of the SIP’s priorities, or that the best case for investment has been made.  


6.3         The Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation and this report updates members on the response in Appendix 1, which was submitted on 12th September 2022 to meet the consultation deadline.


7.            Financial implications


7.1         There are no financial implications for the Council responding to this consultation, other than officer time.


Name of finance officer consulted: Jill Scarfield    Date consulted: 23/08/22


8.            Legal implications


8.1         There are no legal implications arising directly from this report which is for noting.


Name of lawyer consulted: Alice Rowland    Date consulted: 16/08/22


9.            Equalities implications


9.1         An Equalities Impact Assessment has been undertaken as part of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal prepared during the development of the area studies that inform the draft SIP. There are no direct equalities implications for Committee Members to consider arising from responding to the questionnaire.


9.2         An appropriate level of Equalities Impact Assessments would be carried out during the development of each intervention included in the plan.


10.         Sustainability implications


10.1      A Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment have been undertaken as part of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal prepared during the development of the area studies that inform the draft SIP. These have assessed the potential impacts the SIP could have on a range of indicators, including natural capital, ecosystem services and biodiversity; the historic environment; landscape and townscape; soil and resources; water; air quality; and climate change and greenhouse gases. Decarbonisation is one of the global policy interventions, with active and public transport and supporting interventions to help enable and encourage more sustainable travel.


10.2      An appropriate level of environmental assessment would be carried out during the development of each intervention included in the plan.


11.         Other Implications


Social Value and procurement implications


11.1      There are no procurement requirement implications associated with this consultation response.


Crime & disorder implications:


11.2      There are no direct implications arising from the development of this SIP and the consultation response from the Council. Some proposed interventions (in active travel, mass transit and highways packages) would contribute to improving road safety and personal security and thereby seek to support the aims and priorities of the Council’s Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy, especially in helping to deliver measures that improve the physical environment, ensure communities are stronger, and help people feel safer.


Public health implications:


11.3      Transport and travel are critical to delivering the city’s public health objectives as they contribute significantly to some of today‘s greatest challenges to public health, including road traffic injuries, physical inactivity, the adverse effect of traffic on social cohesiveness and the impact on outdoor air and noise pollution.


11.4      A Health Impact Assessment been undertaken as part of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal prepared during the development of the area studies that inform the draft SIP.


11.5      An appropriate level of assessment would be carried out during the development of each intervention included in the plan.



Supporting Documentation


1.            Appendices


1.            Transport for the South East – Strategic Investment Plan: Consultation Response


2.            Background documents


1. Transport for the South East – A Strategic Investment Plan for the South East: Consultation draft (June 2022)