Pope welcomes economic strategy but disappointed sustainable transport not prioritised

Alliance Banbridge Councillor Brian Pope has welcomed a new Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy but expressed disappointment sustainable transport has not been prioritised.

He said it would bring vital investment to the area but partly represented a missed opportunity.

“The plan’s executive summary states improved access to a quality road network is key to unlocking our economic potential. However, changing working and travel patterns, and ambitious carbon reduction targets to address climate change, necessitates the priority of rail and other sustainable modes of transport.

“Furthermore, the New Decade New Approach deal, which has been agreed by all the main political parties, includes commitments to clean and inclusive growth as part of a Green New Deal.

“Therefore, the strategy’s plan for a longer-term ambition to consider a range of effective sustainable transport solutions unfortunately falls short of this important commitment.

“There is, however, much to be welcomed in the strategy on skills and training, digital capacity, manufacturing, tourism initiatives and innovation.

“We will continue to push for innovative and sustainable projects in the area and, working together, we can boost employment and build a strong economy for the benefit of everyone.”