Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee

Agenda Item 73


Subject:                    Transport for the South East – Strategic Investment Plan


Date of meeting:    17th January 2023


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 is one of a number of local authorities, represented by councillors, that are members of the Partnership Board of Transport for The South East (TfSE), the Sub-national Transport Body established in 2017.  Further to the adoption in 2020 of TfSE’s 30-year Transport Strategy to develop a modern, integrated and sustainable transport network, it published its draft Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for consultation in June 2022. The document provides a framework for investment in strategic transport infrastructure, services, and regulatory interventions across the South East up to 2050.  It will also assist local authorities in seeking funds for delivery of local transport improvements across the region as part of the wider strategy.


1.2         In order to determine what investment is needed to deliver its strategy and transform the region’s transport system to deliver sustainable economic growth, TfSE has worked with its constituent local authorities, partners and and other stakeholders to develop a series of area studies. These geographic studies have investigated the issues, challenges and opportunities identified in the transport strategy in more detail. This resulted in a number of multi-modal packages of interventions to make life better for people, for businesses and for the environment.  Together with other regional strategies and evidence, this work has been used to inform the SIP.


1.3         The formal consultation period for the draft SIP ran from 20th June 2022 to 12th September 2022. Details of this, including the proposed regional and local measures, along with the response submitted by the Council was reported to this committee on 20th September 2022. TfSE has now completed the formal consultation, analysis and revisions to produce a final draft SIP. It is now seeking decisions by its constituent authorities to approve the final draft, prior to submitting the final SIP to Government in spring 2023. To do so, TfSE will need the full support of its Board members to approve the SIP at its meeting in March 2023.



2.            Recommendations


2.1         That Committee expresses support for Transport for the South East’s final draft Strategic Investment Plan.


3.            Context and background information


3.1         The SIP forms the final part of the TfSE Transport Strategy and sets out £45 billion worth of investment in strategic transport infrastructure over the next 30 years. It makes a strong case for investment to the Treasury and the Department for Transport (DfT) based on five years of technical work, stakeholder engagement, input from its constituent local authorities and the recent consultation. It supports the priorities and aims of the transport strategy and sets out a clear sequence and timescales for the packages of interventions identified as part of the area studies.  It presents a strong overall case (strategic, economic, social, environmental) to government and other funders for the delivery of the packages of interventions identified in the SIP, and identifies the potential cost of the proposed programme of investment.


3.2         The SIP is aligned with and supports wider policy and government priorities at multiple levels and across different forms of transport, including Local Transport Plans, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Bus Back Better and the Williams-Shapps Review of rail.  If the £45 billion investment programme is delivered, it is forecast that the transport interventions included in the SIP have the potential to generate 25,000 new jobs and to contribute an additional £4.5 billion growth in GVA (gross value added) per year against the business as usual scenario. The plan also has the potential to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by 1.4 mega tonnes each year from the interventions alone and support a pathway to reach net zero. It will have an impact on daily journeys, supporting 500,000 more rail trips and 1.5 million more journeys by bus and ferry.


3.3         As outlined in the report to this committee in September 2022 which noted the council’s response to the consultation, the draft SIP sets out the eight investment priorities aligned with the vision and strategic goals of the Transport Strategy and the wider regional, national, and international policy context with which both are aligned. These priorities include broader issues where action is needed across sectors, including transport, such as decarbonisation and the environment and adapting to a new normal, and key factors with a direct relevance to transport in the South East, such as east-west connectivity and world class urban transit systems.


3.4         The draft SIP details 30 packages of complementary, multi-modal interventions that have been developed through the area studies, including workshops, discussions, and careful analysis of results of the assessment of the long list of interventions. In essence, this reflects a ‘top down’ vision led approach and a ‘bottom up’ individual intervention assessment approach.


3.5         The packages are broadly split into two groups.  There are 6 Global Interventions consisting of national regulatory and policy activity, and 24 Place-Based Interventions: presented at a sub-regional level, with many being multi-modal or thematic.  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 Local Transport Plans [LTPs]). 


3.6         This combination of strategic investments will allow TfSE to achieve its objectives and, in doing so, support wider local, regional, and national policy and priorities. The main financial challenge will relate to funding (i.e. how the projects are paid for over time). This will involve making best use of funds that can be directed from government and identifying new and innovative approaches.


3.7         The draft SIP also focuses on delivery and governance. It sets out the proposed role that TfSE will play in the implementation of the SIP, as well as the role and responsibility of key delivery partners. It sets out proposed key performance indicators that will be taken forward for further development by the TfSE team and a summary of the delivery plan from the Area Studies, including phasing and timing of the proposed packages and interventions.


Public Consultation


3.8         The public consultation on the draft SIP commenced on 20th June 2022 and concluded on 12th September 2022. The main mechanism for obtaining feedback was via an online survey, accessed via a dedicated online engagement platform.  The survey recorded responses about demographics, type of stakeholder, geographical area, comments on the SIP chapters and the Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA).


3.9         There were 641 responses to the consultation. A total of 422 respondents completed the questionnaire, with a further 88 submitting individual letters or emails. 131 individual campaign/petition responses were also received.  The overall key findings from the consultation show:-

·         Support for investment proposals to improve public transport in the South East, for example, 34% of those that participated via email/letter explicitly stated they welcomed the investment into public transport.

·         Respondents welcomed the focus on Active Travel schemes, with between 51% and 79% of respondents who participated in the survey supporting the proposed Active Travel schemes across the area.

·         Respondents welcomed the recognition of importance of the need to tackle climate change, with analysis showing that 76% of respondents to the survey stated ‘Decarbonisation & Environment’ is the most important investment priority for the SIP to deliver.

·         Of those respondents that participated via the survey, 49% of respondents were in agreement that the SIP makes the best case possible for investing in transport infrastructure in the South East, with ‘Somewhat agreed’ at 31% and ‘Definitely agreed’ at 18%.


3.10      Although ‘decarbonisation and the environment’ was selected as the most important overall investment priority for the SIP to deliver, qualitative responses to the same question showed that support for other investment priorities was also considered important. This highlighted that TfSE should prioritise improvements to public transport, in turn reducing car use and tackling climate change. The support for public transport fares was further evidenced when respondents to the online survey chose this above decarbonisation, as the most important global policy intervention (78% compared to 72%) and the most frequently received comment in email and postal responses was around support for investment in public transport (34%).


3.11      When asked to what extent they agreed that the packages of interventions for the geographic corridors that include Brighton & Hove will deliver on the priorities of the SIP, the online survey submissions showed that:

·         60% somewhat or definitely agreed for London – Sussex Coast, with 16% definitely disagreeing; and

·         58% somewhat or definitely agreed for Solent and Sussex Coast, with 15% definitely disagreeing.


3.12      Feedback from the more detailed, geographic corridor scheme specific questions demonstrated that rail, mass transit and active travel schemes were the most supported interventions for the London to Sussex Coast area, with highways schemes the least supported. Comments reflected the need for the SIP to prioritise active travel, provide more detail on proposed interventions and requests for further investment to public transport.  Rail schemes were most supported interventions for the Solent and Sussex Coast area, followed by mass transit and active travel. Proposed highways schemes were the least popular. The most frequent comment for this corridor was a desire to see more sustainable forms of transport prioritised, followed by a greater focus on active travel.


3.13      The Council’s response to the consultation survey expressed the need for more urgent action to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency. It expressed concern around the impacts of some significant highway improvement schemes, and stated the need for more emphasis on reducing traffic, increasing public transport, and stronger and more comprehensive Active Travel packages. Appendix 1 summarises how these responses and other comments were responded to; this should be read alongside the summary prepared by TfSE, which is provided as Appendix 2 to this report.


3.14      The following provides a summary of the changes made to the draft SIP by TfSE following the public consultation:

·         More context on the purpose of the SIP and importantly, what the SIP won’t do;

·         Clarity that the financial ask of the SIP is above and beyond the funding that Local Transport Authorities already receive;

·         Asserts the need to ensure that public transport provision returns to the quality of provision prior to the Covid-19 pandemic;

·         Updates to investment priorities section to reflect feedback on the priorities;

·         Strengthens the focus on decarbonisation and the environment throughout the document, including making it clearer that addressing climate change is a main aim of the SIP;

·         Greater recognition of the importance of strategic active travel and mass transit;

·         Clarification that highways are multi-modal assets, supporting active travel and mass transit interventions as well as freight movements;

·         Amendments to the narrative for coastal areas to reflect the challenges that transport can help address and the opportunities that it can unlock;

·         Strengthens the narrative around key priorities that support health and wellbeing;

·         In recognition of the current financial situation, the funding and finance section has been updated to reflect that the SIP is a live document and costs will need to be updated as individual schemes are taken forward;

·         Clarification that transition of freight to rail will not be of detriment to passenger services;

·         Changes and clarification to information on proposed interventions to reflect comments received; and

·         Updates to the delivery stages and next steps of the SIP to set out how the SIP will be implemented, delivered and monitored.


Next steps


3.15      Following the consultation, the TfSE Partnership Board considered and agreed proposed changes to the SIP to produce a final draft at its meeting on 14th November 2022.  The TfSE Partnership Board will consider the final SIP in March 2023 and will agree the process for submitting it to the Government.  To do so, requires individual local authorities to make decisions regarding the final draft version of the SIP via their formal council procedures.


3.16      TfSE will continue to work with constituent authorities and other delivery 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 of the delivery of each intervention will need careful consideration.


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. It is recognised that the SIP supports TfSE’s overall transport strategy which the council supports and is based on a significant amount of evidence, technical work, studies and stakeholder engagement.


4.2         The TfSE Transport Strategy published in July 2020 supports and complements the work of the local authorities and LEPs. The Strategic Investment Plan will further this and will offer a key route to influence the investment decisions by the Government in a way that has not been possible in the past. The SIP marks a change in the position of TfSE in moving from strategy into delivery, and therefore it requires the full support of its constituent authorities to enable the body to continue its work. 


5.            Community engagement and consultation


5.1         The public consultation on the draft SIP commenced on 20th June 2022 and concluded on 12th September 2022. 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 locally at the city’s Transport Partnership (July 2022), in connection with the Council’s Carbon Neutral Programme.  The Transport Partnership has also received a presentation from TfSE officers on the SIP following the consultation.  More formal debate and discussion has taken place at TfSE Partnership Board meetings. 


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 several priorities and interventions included in the council’s 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 measures in the Brighton & Hove area 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.


7.            Financial implications


7.1         TfSE has established an annual subscription of £30,000 per unitary authority, contained within the current revenue budget. The DfT has awarded grant funding to TfSE of over £3 million the last two financial years, which has been used to support the development of the technical programme and, more recently, for staffing costs. DfT has provided an indicative funding allocation for the next two financial years, which will support the implementation of the SIP.


7.2         There are no financial implications for the Council in supporting the final draft SIP, other than officer time.


Name of finance officer consulted: Jill Scarfield Date consulted: (07/12/22)


8.            Legal implications


8.1      The decision to approve the SIP and submit it to Government will ultimately be taken by TfSE’s board on which the Council is represented.


Name of lawyer consulted: Alice Rowland    Date consulted: (8/12/22)


9.            Equalities implications


9.1         Consideration has been given to the potential for any adverse equalities impacts arising from the recommendations of this report. It is the view of officers that the recommendations included in this report do not have an adverse impact on any of the protected characteristics identified in the Equalities Act 2010.


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


10.2      TfSE understands that a number of its constituent Local Authorities, including Brighton & Hove, have trajectories to become carbon neutral by 2030 and this is reflected within its Transport Strategy and the SIP.


11.         Other Implications


Social Value and procurement implications


11.1      There are no procurement requirement implications associated with supporting the SIP.


Crime & disorder implications:


11.2      There are no direct implications arising from the development of the SIP. 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. A Health Impact Assessment been undertaken as part of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal prepared during the development of the area studies that inform the SIP. An appropriate level of assessment would be carried out during the development of each intervention included in the plan.



Supporting Documentation


1.            Appendices


1.            Summary of amendments to the SIP in response to the Council’s consultation feedback to the draft SIP document


2.            Summary of changes to the Strategic Investment Plan document (November 2022) - TfSE


2.            Background documents


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

2.         TfSE – A Strategic Investment Plan for the South East: Final draft (November 2022)


3.         BHCC Report and minutes – ETS Committee : 20th September 2022 (Agenda Item 30)