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England's Economic Heartland – covering Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, and Northamptonshire among others – is the latest regional initiative following the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
What do they all have in common? They all need quality infrastructure to realise their full potential.
In our recent State of the Nation report on devolution we made the case for integrated approaches to infrastructure networks in developing the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse. The same thinking should apply in relation to England’s Economic Heartland (EEH).
ICE has today responded to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) call for evidence on the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Cambridge “growth corridor”. During the 12-week inquiry the commission has been seeking to understand how economic growth and higher levels of productivity can be achieved along the corridor.
In the context of planning around transport and wider infrastructure networks we are making the case that greater strategic planning is necessary within the wider economic area that the corridor sits. The geography covered by the EEH partnership provides a more strategic basis for linking infrastructure services, recognising the need to improve transport links between the corridor and neighbouring areas.
View the full ICE consultation response
Drawing on the recommendations set out in our State of the Nation report, we believe that sustainable economic growth and higher productivity across EEH can be achieved by:
It is also important that this approach recognises that alongside the goal of sustainable economic growth infrastructure networks should enhance quality of life for local people and the environments in which they live.
An interim report on their call for evidence will be published by the NIC later this year. Following this a final report will be published by Autumn Statement 2017.
In the meantime ICE will continue to focus on delivering the recommendations set out in this year’s State of the Nation report.