A blog by Mike Herbert
Chair of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Transport Forum
If Staffordshire, and specifically areas where business and commerce are located, is going to increase economic activity and prosperity, then we are going to need a transport infrastructure that is fit for purpose in coming decades.
Therefore, the remit of the Transport Forum is to ensure the ongoing competitiveness of Staffordshire businesses by representing the interests of members to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local authorities, government departments, ministers, MPs, the media, and other relevant bodies. The Forum’s priorities are issues such as: ensuring businesses have access to transport infrastructure and services to facilitate trade and employment; ensuring transport policy supports businesses and employment needs in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and formulating the Chambers responses to local and national planning consultations.
On the roads we see a priority to finish the M6 smart motorway upgrade. Specifically, the section from J15 to J16 and the upgrade of J15 following on from the implementation of smart motorways to the south from J15 to Birmingham and to the north from J16 to Manchester. Currently J15 to J16 is left as the gap in the middle of a crucial motorway link.
Both the A500 and A50 through North Staffordshire are fast approaching capacity and various bottlenecks need to be addressed. We also need to ensure timely delivery of the Etruria Valley link road.
HS2, although not stopping in the county, will have an impact on our existing rail services. We are campaigning for the maintenance of, and improvements to the railway links to Stoke and Stafford so that Staffordshire is not disadvantaged by HS2. We certainly do not want to see any downgrading to services to London, Birmingham, and Manchester in capacity, speed, and frequency. This includes much needed improvements to the Derby to Crewe service which runs via Stoke-on-Trent.
We also want to see efficient delivery of the construction phase which utilises regional suppliers and causes minimum disruption to existing transport networks, businesses, and Staffordshire residents.
Sustainable transport and reducing our carbon emissions down to net zero by 2050 has a major bearing on our discussions on local initiatives to hasten the move from fossil fuels to electric and hydrogen fuels. We need progress in a deliverable, cost effective way which does not create any disadvantages to Staffordshire and its businesses.
Finally, we will be monitoring the post-Brexit effects on international transport, particularly freight traffic to the EU to guage what effect this is having on our businesses.
I hope this gives a flavour of our Forum and its objectives. If you would like to know more, and if you would consider joining us to support our endeavours, please email Declan Riddell: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to talk about any business issues, you can call the Chambers switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: email@example.com
To join the Forum discussion click here Hot Topics — Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce