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New regional body to look at cutting transport CO2 emissions across East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 10:20 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 July 2019

Traffic on the Orwell Bridge, just outside Ipswich Picture; Lucy Taylor

Traffic on the Orwell Bridge, just outside Ipswich Picture; Lucy Taylor

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Balancing the needs of the economy and the environment a priority for Transport East

Transport East will look to balance the needs of the economy with the needs of the environment Picture: Gregg BrownTransport East will look to balance the needs of the economy with the needs of the environment Picture: Gregg Brown

How to manage the introduction of electric vehicles in East Anglia and encouraging more people to walk rather than take the car are two areas to be investigated by a new body charged with cutting CO2 emissions from the region's transport between now and 2050.

Transport East will see the transport teams from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county councils come together with their counterparts at the unitary councils of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council. The group will also include district council representatives who can advise on how planning and housing decisions can be improved to cut down on transports emissions. Local Enterprise Partnerships will also be involved to provide a business voice.

"By working together over a larger geographical area, we can achieve more than if we worked individually," said Alastair Southgate, head of future transport strategy at Essex County Council.

READ MORE: Could making bus travel free help cut car emissions and reduce air pollution?

It is hoped Transport East can achieve more by looking at transport at a regional level    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNIt is hoped Transport East can achieve more by looking at transport at a regional level Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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"Our first priority is to hold a workshop with interested parties to talk through what the problems are, what solutions there might be and how acceptable those solutions are."

Transport East is the latest so-called sub-national transport body (SNTB) to be formed around the country with the purpose of ensuring there is an effective regional voice in the planning, prioritisation and delivery of transport improvements. SNTBs are already underway elsewhere in England and include Transport for the North, Midlands Connect and England's Economic Heartland (EEH), which is looking at transport solutions for the economic arc area between Cambridge and Oxford.

Mr Southgate said any solutions must balance the needs of the environment and the economy.

"The ports and airports are crucial to our economy but they also have an environmental impact, so how do we balance those two priorities?," he said.

READ MORE: What steps can your business take to reduce its carbon footprint?

"We need to bring businesses along to make sure any solutions work for the economy as a whole. There is also a business opportunity in developing low carbon forms of transport."

Many of the key transport issues for the region will be identified at the first meeting of Transport East but Mr Southgate said encouraging people to take journeys on foot to reduce traffic congestion and managing the introduction of electric vehicles across the region will be two topics up for discussion.

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