Delivery of planned growth in a sustainable way is dependent upon being able to plan, develop and deliver infrastructure investment with confidence and certainty.
Where the need for investment in our transport system has been established, we will continue to work with infrastructure owners and service providers to accelerate the delivery of that investment. This includes committed schemes included in Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy, EEH’s Major Road Network programme and Network Rail’s investment pipeline.
We will work with Network Rail, the East West Railway Company and Highways England to ensure that their investment programmes reflect the needs of our region. Where those investment programmes include identified regional priorities, we will actively support these infrastructure owners as they take individual proposals through their statutory processes into delivery.
Our work has identified opportunities to address some of the key barriers to enabling the timely and efficient delivery of required infrastructure.
In addition, there are pinch-points at the regional and local level which prevent the timely development and delivery of infrastructure projects. Our work is focussed on addressing this.
What we're doing
As a net contributor to the Exchequer, investment in infrastructure to support and accelerate the region’s economic recovery, and support the delivery of planned growth, will be fundamental to support the UK economy as a whole.
Notwithstanding the identification of the region as a national economic priority we cannot assume that the case for strategic investments has necessarily been made and the funding secured.
It is clear that the forthcoming Spending Review will be particularly tough. We will use the Transport Strategy – and its underpinning evidence base – to make the strongest possible case for the investment required to enable delivery in the short to medium term to be accelerated.
Our Spending Review submission will take a three-pronged approach:
- To secure the funding required to support partners in accelerating the delivery of known priorities
- To secure the funding required to develop schemes identified in the Investment Pipeline to make them ‘oven ready’
- To secure the funding to increase regional capacity and capability in support of partners developing and delivering investment priorities
Centre of Excellence
A review of the infrastructure delivery process, undertaken in collaboration with our partners identified pinch points where lack of access to specialist skills and knowledge, particularly within the client side, introduces risk into the delivery and development of infrastructure projects. The analysis concluded that the absence of technical skills is experienced most acutely during the procurement, project initiation and option testing phase of an infrastructure project.
EEH is working with the Department for Transport to develop proposals for a ‘centre of excellence’: a regional resource that will host specialist skills which partner authorities will be able to draw on as they develop their proposals to the point of delivery. Access to this resource will enable partners to realise efficiencies that help accelerate the delivery of investment and reduce costs. Establishing this resource will strengthen the quality of new proposals, reduce risks to delivery and disseminate accumulated knowledge that can be applied more widely.
Evidence to Transport Select Committee
EEH has provided evidence to the Transport Select Committee's 2020/21 inquiry into 'Major transport infrastructure projects: appraisal and delivery'.
Our evidence highlights:
- The need for a 5-10-year indicative funding envelope: We have seen first-hand the added value and benefits realised by Network Rail and Highways England operating within such a framework. Extending the approach to the wider transport system would encourage more effective prioritisation at the regional level. By ensuring the Investment Pipeline is affordable the opportunity would be created to reduce (or even avoid) the need for competitions to be used to allocate the funding available. There is clear evidence that the use of competitions adds inertia to decision-making, adds avoidable costs and delays the realisation of economic benefits.
- Funding mechanisms need to be simplified and focused on delivering outcomes, as opposed to being limited to specific projects. We need to move on from funding decisions assigned by departments operating in siloes of one another.
- Improving the appraisal process: The appraisal system must take heed of the changes to working patterns and avoid excessive weight afforded to the monetary value of journey time savings. It should favour an appraisal system where carbon reduction and outcome led planning are the pillars of transport decision making.
Recent consultation responses
- Transport Select Committee Appraisal and Delivery submission January 2021.pdf
- Joint STB evidence Transport Committee Major Transport Infrastructure January 2021.pdf
- Planning For the Future White Paper - consultation response.pdf October 2020
- ORR Holding Highways England to Account consultation response Final.pdf February 2020
- Transport Appraisal and Modelling Strategy consultation response October 2018
Recent news/ blogs
Recent Forum papers