Joint Committee talks productivity and transport

Delivering productivity and cross-authority transport planning will top the agenda when the Heart of South West (HotSW) Joint Committee meets again this week.

Representatives from 23 organisations across Devon and Somerset meet for the second time as the HotSW Joint Committee this Friday (25 May) at Devon County Council offices in Exeter.

Agenda items include an update on developing plans to deliver the Committee’s ambitious Productivity Strategy and a proposal to create a new board that would help shape transport planning and investment across the region.

The Productivity Strategy aims to double productivity in the HotSW area over 20 years.  Work has been carried out to identify the area’s specific opportunities – including nuclear, aerospace, marine, high value tourism and energy – around which the delivery work will be focussed.

A proposal for a ‘Sub-National Transport Body’ (STB) for the South West, will also be discussed.  Incorporating the HotSW authorities along with Cornwall, and potentially Dorset, it would be a forum for regional thinking and planning of investment in transport across the peninsula. The proposal is in response to the Government’s request for more cross-authority collaboration on transport matters.

Friday’s meeting will also see a Chair and Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee elected for the year.

Councillor David Fothergill, Chair of the Committee and Leader of Somerset County Counci, said: “The Joint Committee is about working across boundaries to improve productivity and deliver real benefits to residents.

“To do that we need to translate our Productivity Strategy into tangible actions and that is what the delivery plan is doing.

“We are already delivering growth and increased productivity but we can do more and the delivery plan that’s taking shape will focus on realising the great opportunities that are specific to the HotSW area.”

The Joint Committee met for the first time in March.  It is made up of Council Leaders and other lead representatives of county, unitary and district councils across Devon and Somerset along with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, the Local Enterprise Partnership and local Clinical Commissioning Groups.

It is a means through which the authorities and organisations can work together to improve productivity and continue to work with Government on policy agendas including devolution.  In some areas, the work of the Leaders will go wider than just the HotSW area where it makes sense to work across boundaries with partners with common interests. The transport proposal is one example of this wider working.

Somerset County Council is acting as the host of the HotSW Joint Committee and meeting agendas and further information including the full Productivity Strategy can be found here

The Joint Committee’s meetings are open to the public and Friday’s meeting is scheduled to start at 10am in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD.

For further information please contact the Somerset County Council Press Office on 01823 355020 or email

Notes to editors
• Requests for interview or comment on behalf of the Joint Committee as a whole should be made to the Somerset County Council Press Office.
Requests for interview or comment from individual organisations should be made through their communications/press teams.
• The partners that make up the HotSW Joint Committee are: Dartmoor National Park Authority, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, Exmoor National Park Authority, Mendip District Council, Mid Devon District Council, North Devon Council, Plymouth City Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, South Hams District Council, South Somerset District Council, Torbay Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Teignbridge District Council, Torridge District Council, West Devon Borough Council, West Somerset Council, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.
• The Joint Committee’s Productivity Strategy focusses on themes including promoting business leadership, housing, connectivity, infrastructure, skills and training. The Leaders have already had useful meetings with the key civil servants in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.