A CAMPAIGNER has said a new forum dedicated to improving transport infrastructure in the east of England has the wrong focus.

Transport East has drawn up multi-billion pound blueprints for its 30 year plan to improve travel connections in Essex with the aim of creating stronger links to Norfolk, Suffolk and between Stansted airport and the north east Essex coast.

The group consists of political representatives from Highways England and transportation authorities, as well as Network Rail and various councillors.

It has now opened up its plans for the public to critique before going back to the drawing board to finalise its masterplan.

Transport East says it is relying mainly on the Government to support the plan which it predicts will cost between £4.6 billion and £6.3 billion.

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The group said decarbonisation to net-zero, connecting growing towns and cities and energising coastal and rural communities are among its priorities.

It hopes to reduce emissions from transport by building new homes carefully so people do not need to drive as often and aims to make it easier for people to use greener methods of travel, rather than a car.

But environmental campaigner Rosie Pearson, who fought against plans for two garden communities in the north Essex countryside, says the plan is “too focused” on growth and the economy, instead of transport, and “does not reflect the desired outcomes”.

She added: “This is a transport plan and should not be driven by housing growth deals or housing infrastructure funds.

“Make sure any numbers include environmental factors such as natural capital accounting and externalities, such as illness or death from air pollution.

“That will result in the right decisions for the existing population and the environment, not swayed by political expediency.”

Unlocking international gateways at the region’s ports and airports are also central to the plan, while the A120 west at Stansted, through Braintree, via the A12 to Colchester and then to Harwich and Clacton was listed as a key focus.

You can have your say in the consultation until January 30 via www.transporteast.org.uk.