Network Rail is exploring the merits of three new east-west rail arcs in central southern England.
- Northern arc: linking north Oxfordshire (Banbury) with Northampton and Peterborough
- Central arc: the Oxford to Cambridge East West Rail alignment but potentially extended to Swindon and Reading in the west and to Ipswich and Norwich in the east
- Southern arc: north of the M25, connecting the Chiltern lines with the West Anglia Main Line (London to Stansted/Cambridge)
Network Rail is working with the non-statutory sub-national transport body England’s Economic Heartland, local authorities, and the Rail Delivery Group on the study.
Hydrogen bus town competition
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has revealed plans to run a hydrogen bus town competition, similar to the all-electric bus town competition already underway.
Review all infrastructure and policy against net zero – CCC
The Government should assess new infrastructure projects and policy initiatives for compliance with the statutory net zero greenhouse gas emissions target, the Committee on Climate Change has said.
“Increasingly, all policy and infrastructure decisions will need to be checked against their consistency with the UK’s net zero target and the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” says the committee’s annual report to Parliament. “Government planning documents should also be reviewed (e.g. Green Book, National Planning Policy Framework) to ensure consistency against the objective.”
Garden communities ‘will be car-based commuter suburbs’
The Government’s programme of garden towns and garden villages is little more than ‘greenwash’ when it comes to transport, with most developments likely to end up being car-dependent commuter estates, according to a report by the Transport for New Homes project.
“Sometimes it seemed that the location of a new garden community was actually chosen because it would help finance a new road or better junction,” says the report.
First to run bus seat reservation trial
FirstGroup is to trial seat reservations on a bus route in the Bristol area to guarantee passengers a seat during social distancing.
The idea is likely to be applied to duplicate services – the additional services operated on a route while individual vehicle capacity is limited due to Covid-19 social distancing.
Greater Manchester puts bus franchising plan on ice
Greater Manchester Combined Authority has put its bus franchising plan on ice because of Covid-19.
Chief executive Eamonn Boylan said it would be necessary to consider how the virus would impact the franchise assessment and consultation already undertaken.
“The outcome of that work will determine if there is a need to repeat some or all of the process set out in the Bus Services Act.”
Mayoral combined authority for Lancs?
Transport governance in Lancashire will be shaken up if a proposal to establish an elected mayor-led combined authority (MCA) comes to fruition.
Lancashire County Council’s executive has endorsed the idea in principle. Officers suggested that an MCA could increase the area’s chances of securing more Government funding for transport.
The combined authority could cover the two unitary authorities of Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen too, subject to their approval.
About the Author
This post was written by Andrew Forster. Andrew Forster edits the fortnightly magazine Local Transport Today, covering transport policy and practice from across the UK. To subscribe to Local Transport Today, click here.