The Wokingham Paper

Call for Westminster to to reassess public transport infrastructure across South East

THE CONFEDERATION of British Industry (CBI) is urging the Government to reassess transport infrastructure across the South East.

This comes following a significant decline in demand for public transport since the Coronavirus pandemic began.

Wokingham Borough sits in the commuter belt, with many people travelling into London for work pre-pandemic.

But now, the CBI is asking the Government to think about offering more adaptable, reliable and low-carbon commuting options as more people adopt flexible working arrangements.

Malcolm Hyde, CBI south east director said: “Commuter behaviours have undergone a sea-change this year in the South East, and the likelihood is that they will never revert to past patterns or previous numbers.

“If the UK is to deliver world-class infrastructure needed to meet the changing patterns of demand tomorrow, it must embed long-term shifts into its policy making today.”

In a report produced with KPMG UK, the CBI puts forward 10 recommendations to revolutionise commuter travel, and is urging the Government to consider public transport arrangements at the upcoming Spending Review.

One recommendation suggests organising long-term funding arrangements with local transport bodies to give local authorities a greater say in infrastructure.

And another suggests that the Government could place a greater focus on how transport and infrastructure programmes impact upon housing and regional economies.

Richard Threlfall, global head of infrastructure at KPMG added: “While Covid-19 has had a significant impact on travel patterns, and lobbed a huge uncertainty factor into planning models, we should seize the opportunity to reform our approach to transport investment.

“This is our chance to move away from short-term, centralised, and siloed decision-making.

“Government policy and funding should support local authorities to develop multi-year programmes of investments that will drive local jobs, growth and quality of life.”

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