The Western Gateway and Peninsula Transport Sub-national Transport Bodies (STBs) have launched the first joint freight strategy for the South West. The strategy addresses the challenges, opportunities and priorities for the South West over the next 30 years, to 2050, and reflects many of the priorities in the Government’s recently published Future of Freight Plan.

Freight is vital to communities and businesses across the region. It brings in essential goods and commodities and transports the products of many diverse businesses and services. As well as improving connections between people, place and businesses, the aim of the strategy is to enhance the resilience in the supply chain networks across all transport modes. It also seeks to support the health and wellbeing of local communities and help achieve a zero emission transport system.

The strategy sets a pathway to a more efficient and sustainable freight sector, looking at various challenges to the freight network and setting out a number of prioritised interventions. These are packaged across five transport modes, covering the following themes:

• Connectivity

• Decarbonisation

• Information and awareness

• Infrastructure

• Operational efficiency

• Technology

AECOM and WSP were commissioned by the two STBs to develop a joint freight strategy, covering the South West region. Engagement with local authorities and stakeholders from the freight sector and wider business community has been key to its development. The recent formation of the South West Freight Steering Group, a partnership between public and private sectors, will play an important role in driving the strategy forward.

Councillor Manda Rigby Freight Lead Member at Western Gateway said: “We are pleased to present the joint freight strategy and believe this to be an excellent piece of collaborative working between the Western Gateway and Peninsula Transport STBs. Taking a joined-up approach to freight in the region has helped us to recommend interventions that we hope will improve freight efficiency, reduce freight journey times, congestion and carbon emissions and support economic growth. Throughout the development of the strategy, we have brought together private and public sector stakeholders on a regional basis who will continue to work together through the South West Freight Steering Group.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Chairman of Peninsula Transport said: “The South West peninsula is a great place to live and work and we want to ensure that this is supported by a resilient, affordable and safe transport network.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with Western Gateway STB to improve connections between people, place and businesses in the South West. Transport is central to levelling up and freight is a key part of this, for both the goods it brings into the region as well as for transporting our own products to the rest of the country and the world.

“Through the delivery of the strategy, we want to have a positive environmental impact on the South West by improving efficiency and reducing carbon emissions on the freight transport network. Part of achieving this will be investing in greener vehicle technologies, as well as developing partnerships to share information and consolidate logistics.

“The freight strategy will also feed into, and provide invaluable evidence, for Peninsula Transport’s full strategy being developed this year.”