Transport Corridors Good news but more work required

The Government's proposals for the creation of fourteen strategic national transport corridors for road, rail, waterways, ports and aviation are welcome and make explicit use of the principles described in the transport study carried out by Sir Rod Eddington in 2006. It is vital to recognise the need to identify and develop a national strategic infrastructure which encompasses all modes of transport and associated services. However, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT) says that some of the fourteen routes could be better defined and that two important corridors have been omitted from the plan altogether.

These comments are contained in the response from CILT to the Department for Transport's consultation on Delivering a Sustainable Transport System (DaSTS) which considers planning for national transport needs from 2014 to 2019 and beyond.

CILT says that, broadly speaking, DaSTS's map of Strategic National Corridors is a welcome and useful development. However, the map takes a variable perspective on what constitutes such a corridor. It shows a mix of long-distance national corridors, some quite short port/airport to city connections, and some specific inter-regional routes. It is unclear whether the map is intended to be conceptual, indicating principal desire lines, or seeks to link flows to individual, existing transport routes. CILT says that a conceptual approach would be preferable as it would serve to guide planning for future transport infrastructure and routes, such as proposals for new high speed railways or trans-Pennine links.

CILT is also concerned that the corridors fail to provide practical reference to the areas governed by the devolved administrations, particularly bearing in mind the Department for Transport's responsibilities for ports such as Holyhead in Wales, and Stranraer in Scotland, together with airports in these regions such as Cardiff. These are of key importance to the English economy and therefore should figure.

In addition CILT says that there is a strong argument for showing all of the European TEN-T axes in Great Britain as strategic national corridors - DfT already has responsibility for these.

Regrettably, two major corridors have been omitted completely. The key long distance north-south route through the east of England does not appear, nor does a strategic route along the south coast linking the Channel Tunnel to strategic ports - ie the Dover-Solent-Plymouth axis.

Other important matters commented on within CILT's response include transport governance, integration, the prioritisation and appraisal of projects, and changes in public and industrial behaviour.