East Lincolnshire is inescapably peripheral. To the east is the North Sea, to the north the Humber estuary and to the south the Wash. Greengauge 21’s report – Connecting East Lincolnshire – explores what can be done to improve East Lincolnshire’s connectivity. The report is a case study in meeting the connectivity needs of a rural and coastal area at a time of climate crisis.
Typical of many coastal areas, East Lincolnshire suffers poor scores on public health and life expectancy and has low levels of social mobility. It is hard to attract new businesses and to deter school leavers from moving elsewhere to find employment.
The connectivity challenge facing East Lincolnshire is unlikely to be solved by highway investment. East Lincolnshire has low levels of car ownership and highway investment doesn’t help those without access to a car. Lincolnshire’s poor road accident statistics highlight that highway schemes should prioritise improving safety rather than speeding up traffic and adding capacity to improve connectivity. And there are major challenges ahead to de-carbonise road transport in a car-dominated rural area.
The report highlights that rail re-openings make greatest sense where suitably efficient operating patterns can be developed, creating multiple journey opportunities. In this case, the mainline station at Peterborough can be used as a gateway not only to East Lincolnshire but the economics of the existing Nottingham–Skegness line can be improved as well.
The report also considers the need for on bus/rail integration. The new rail services would complement the InterConnect bus links that provide connections between Louth and Mablethorpe and Mablethorpe and Skegness, for example. Interurban bus services need to be developed between Louth and Grimsby as well. Good interchange and through ticketing between these bus services and trains at key centres such as Louth and Boston need to be part of the thinking about rail service development. And these transport hubs in the network would be a great location to locate charging points for electric cars.