Transport for the North has welcomed today’s launch of the new National Transport Investment Strategy announced by Chris Grayling MP, the Secretary of State for Transport.
The new Strategy sets out priorities for Government including: ‘predictable funding for transport investment’ and a ‘stable long-term pipeline of projects with a focus on economic growth and the balance of spending between different regions’.
David Brown, the Chief Executive of Transport for the North, which represents 19 local authorities and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North through its Partnership Board, said: “There are some significant steps forward in this Report. We particularly welcome the fact that it recognises the importance of having a strategy which sets out the need for future projects and shows how they contribute to creating a more balanced economy.”
On 21st June 2017, in Harrogate, TfN launched its evidence base to support a 30 year strategic transport plan to transform the economy of the North by improving connectivity. This evidence base will transform economic performance, improve equality of opportunities across the North and promote and support the built and natural environment.
In the development of its transport investment strategy for the North, TfN has been working closely with the DfT, Network Rail, HS2, Highways England and its partner authorities and LEPs to develop long term plans to help the region close the gap between the productivity levels in the North and other parts of the UK.
“The fact that the Government says its national Transport Investment Strategy ‘sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending – meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy’ has to be good news for the North,” says Brown. “We now need to study the Report in much more detail before we give our full response. Initially, the signs are encouraging and it appears many of the recommendations we have been making will now become part of the national agenda.”
A key point, says the TfN Chief Executive, is that the new Report features the creation of a Major Roads Network funded by Vehicle Excise Duty which will help emerging sub-national transport bodies like TfN and their local authorities better connect towns and cities and improve business links. This is a key part of the TfN’s strategy for improving the pan-northern road network and is to be welcomed. So too is Northern Powerhouse Rail and Transport for the North welcomes the fact that the Transport Investment Strategy recognises the need to consider the case for NPR.
The report acknowledges that the creation of Sub-National Transport authorities like Transport for the North will ‘significantly change how infrastructure priorities are set’, something the Government recognises as a ‘fundamental change, ensuring that infrastructure investment takes account of regional transport strategies and is targeted at rebalancing the country’s economy’.
Transport for the North will now consider the full implications of the new national Transport Investment Strategy – subtitled ‘Moving Britain Ahead’ with its Partners before formally responding to the Government.
Further details showing all documents comprising TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan evidence base can be found on TfN’s website.