Transport for the North has today (31st January) set out an ambitious vision for the future of the North’s economy, unveiling draft proposals for northern infrastructure for the next 30 years.
The Strategic Transport Plan (STP) and the Investment Programme would rebalance decades of underinvestment and transform the lives of people in the North. The STP outlines how up to £70 billion of investment to 2050 could contribute towards an additional £100 billion in economic growth for the North’s economy – creating 850,000 extra jobs.
The STP and Investment Programme mark the first time the North’s civic and business leaders have spoken with one voice on behalf of the North’s 15 million people, laying out a new pipeline of transport interventions.
- The £70 billion pipeline looks to better connect the whole of the North, with a short, medium and long-term plan for investment
- It aims to transform connectivity for people and businesses, and make it easier to move goods to, from and within the North
- The plan makes the case to increase spending on strategic transport by around £50 per person in the North each year to 2050
- It includes flagship programmes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail; upgraded and new major roads; enhancements to the existing rail network; and the continued roll out of smart ticketing
- The pan-Northern vision compliments local and regional transport strategies and promotes new, low-carbon ways of travelling
Alan Welsh, Policy Manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber said:
“We welcome the plan which sets out a bold strategy for improving transport links between major towns and cities in the North over the next 30 years.
“We also welcome the focus on creating strategic development corridors that will unlock growth potential and support jobs and investment in key sectors of the northern economy. It is not simply a plan to tackle congestion around major cities; and Lancashire will benefit from the proposals to improve East-West connectivity and join up the energy coasts.
“The Chamber of Commerce will continue to make the business case for this investment as it is far from certain that the government will provide the £70 billion required to make this strategy deliverable rather than just aspirational. There are already noises about HS2 going way overbudget and it could be a long time after the planned date of 2033 before HS2 gets as far as the North West, if it gets here at all. Indeed, an increasing number of Lancashire businesses are questioning the cost-benefit of HS2 and believe that the money would be better used on improving the existing rail network in the North.”
What happens next?
The next stage is for the plans to be considered by Transport for the North’s Board, who will meet on Thursday 7 February in Chester. The Board is a true partnership between the public and private sector, made up of civic leaders – including council leaders and metro mayors – representing 20 Local Transport Authorities alongside the business community.
Subject to approval the plans will be officially launched by Transport for the North on Monday 11 February 2019 in Sheffield at Transport for the North’s Inaugural Conference.
From 11 February onwards, these proposals will become Transport for the North’s statutory advice to Government on what the ongoing priorities are for enhancing sustainable and inclusive connectivity across the North.
Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said:
“The Strategic Transport Plan is a hugely important document for the North. It is our vision for a prosperous pan-Northern future and outlines how investment in transport could transform our economy.
Read the Strategic Transport Plan HERE