Our region is attractive; people who live here, work here, and people who move here, stay and build their lives here. This ensures a steady supply of workers, but it also brings challenges.
At times, our networks are congested, and demand for affordable housing outstrips supply.
A cleaner, greener region
We are committed to clean growth that benefits every resident, and environmental factors are considered as part of everything we do.
The West of England has set an ambitious goal for tackling climate change, committing to net zero carbon by 2030 as set out in our Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Our rich and diverse environment is central to our region’s health and economic prosperity. Well-planned and managed, functioning green infrastructure – including rivers, ponds, parks, trees and allotments – helps us maximise the benefits and value we derive from our natural assets. The Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy (JGIS), produced and endorsed by WECA and Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, aims to secure investment in green infrastructure that will create more attractive and healthy places to live, work and travel.
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is bringing partners together to improve transport across the region, to provide sustainable, long-term solutions to help people move around more easily, reducing congestion and improving the environment we live in.
We have declared a climate emergency and are committed to reducing carbon emissions through reducing traffic congestion to improve air quality.
We need a transport network that works for everyone, every day and for every journey. We’ve already allocated millions to kickstart improvements to our busiest transport routes – including rail, road, buses, walking and cycling.
We are investing in our regional railway network, increasing services and building new train stations to connect more communities. We’re exploring options for a transformational mass transit system linking our region together.
Government has also selected the West of England as a Future Transport Zone which means we are looking at new ways of moving around the region. We are one of the first regions to trial E scooters; fast tracked following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Decisions on which projects we invest in are based upon their contribution to supporting clean and inclusive economic growth and fit with our Local Industrial Strategy.
Homes and planning
WECA and its constituent councils are working together, along with North Somerset Council, to address the region’s strategic housing, planning and infrastructure needs.
Spatial Development Strategy
We need a large-scale plan to make sure future development in the region provides the right kind of jobs, homes and transport links, in the right places. The Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) will set out the vision for how people will live, work and play in the West of England over the next 20 years and will help us deliver our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
The key objective of the SDS is for clean, inclusive recovery and growth for the region. It will influence where the homes and jobs in each local area will go and will be important in shaping future decisions on development and creating sustainable places. The strategy will cover the area of the WECA area, which includes Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils.
We need more homes of all types in the West of England – good quality homes that people can afford, whether they are renting or buying – built in the right places for residents to access employment opportunities to ensure sustainable economic growth. And we need them delivered at a much faster rate.
WECA has a specific role and remit to:
- Co-invest in new homes
- Accelerate the unlocking of barriers
- Planning and prioritising investment in infrastructure
- Establishing a strong partnership to support key large housing sites
We’re investing in our digital infrastructure which is essential for residents to be able to work flexibly from across the region; for businesses to improve their productivity and for residents to access goods and services.
The West of England is an innovative and collaborative region and our businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next-generation networks, including 5G.
5G technology could revolutionise how we all live, trade and work and help make the West of England a greener, more efficient and more attractive place to live.
5G Smart Tourism
The 2019 5G Smart Tourism showcases demonstrated the application of 5G technology in the region and forms part of our ambitions to develop a smart region in the West of England.
5G Logistics project
We are also leading a consortium of partners on a £5.2m 5G logistics project. This will demonstrate how 5G private network capabilities can offer efficiency and productivity improvements to the logistics sector and more widely, allowing real-time location tracking of items, improvements to road traffic management and more efficient processes.