Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Driving the North forwards

Transport for the North has unveiled new and long-awaited plans to overhaul road and railway transport across the north of England. The plans include creating a new rail network called Northern Powerhouse Rail that will aim to cut journey times, particularly east to west across the North. 1.3 million people will live within an hour's train journey of at least four major northern cities and 39% of businesses will be within a 90-minute train journey of four or more major northern cities, according to the new proposals. The train network will be fully integrated with HS2, and new lines will be built along with upgrades to existing lines. Key improvements will also be made to roads, and the proposals could help create 850,000 jobs and boost the economy by £100bn.

A public consultation on the plans will run until 17th April, and a final version is due to be submitted for ministerial consideration later this year. Modern and efficient transport is vital to drive economic growth in the North, as well as to provide a good quality service for local residents. The government is committed to transforming transport in the North and has already committed £13bn, and I welcome these plans.