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West Midlands to improve region’s freight movements

23 April 2014 #CV Sector #News #Policy #Top Stories #Trailer #Truck

West Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have taken the step to agree and prioritise their transport targets in a joint venture.

The move was made to demonstrate closer working relationships among its members, which include the Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, the Marches, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

The group has submitted a Strategic Economic Plan to government for its approval as it aims to supplement and improve the diverse range of transport networks that operate in its districts.

It also hopes to protect key links to internal and external markets, and to avoid a transport bottleneck in the region.

Key to its plan is to improve the road infrastructure for freight using the using the region’s roads, including improvements to the M42, M5, M6 and M6 Toll, as it estimates that while road congestion in the area only affects 6% of all journeys the cost to the economy is in excess of £600 million.

The group said in its statement on transport, “Being at the centre of the country means that we have a strong need to work with our neighbours in the North West, East Midlands, Wales and the South West.

“Connections to ports and airports across the UK are critical to our collective success. The six LEPs sit at the centre of an extensive sub-national and cross-national transport infrastructure, facilitating movement for close to a quarter of UK GDP.”

This news was greeted with approval from the Freight Transport Association, which said it is a step in the right direction.

“Sally Gilson, FTA Policy Manager for the Midlands, added, “This statement shows in particular that the delivery times within the West Midlands suffer from transport infrastructure limitations. The plan to maximise the benefits of the Strategic Road Network by introducing further managed motorways and starting a dialogue with government with regards to the M6 toll is a step in the right direction.

“It is important that the LEPs within the West Midlands area continue with this co-ordinated approach and work with the Highways Agency in highlighting the problem areas. I was pleased to see that the importance of freight within the area has been highlighted.”

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