Northern leaders have published their priorities to transform transport in the region.
Transport for the North’s 30-year draft strategic transport plan outlines how transport connections across the North of England need to be transformed by 2050.
The public are now being asked to share their thoughts on the proposals through a thirteen-week consultation.
“For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the North fulfils its potential,” said John Cridland, Transport for the North chairman.
“Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high quality jobs. This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment.”
Transport for the North is working to make it easier for people and goods to travel across the region, improving access to jobs, supporting businesses and improving the movement of freight and goods.
Seven ‘corridors’ of opportunity are identified in the plan that are key to achieving these aims.
For example, the Southern Pennines corridor identifies proposed road and rail improvements from the Port of Liverpool to the Humber Ports via Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Sheffield City Region.
Alongside the corridors, Transport for the North has outlined its emerging vision for Northern Powerhouse Rail, a rapid and reliable rail network between the North’s six biggest cities and other economic centres.
This is accompanied by an updated Rail Strategy for investment in the region’s existing lines, stations, services and franchise operations; reflecting the planned integration of Rail North into Transport for the North in April this year.
In the short-term, Transport for the North has commenced a rolling programme from now until 2021 to introduce integrated and smart ticketing across the North of England.
Transport for the North said that the cost of the 30-year plan equates to less than £150 per northern citizen per year, or £2-2.3bn per year.
This figure also includes spending which would be expected as part of ongoing strategic transport investment in the North, with only £50 per person per year (£700-900m per year) additional spending.
Regional spend figures issued by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority for the four years from 2017 calculated that projected Government spend on strategic transport will be £1,039 per head for the three Northern regions (North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humber).
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said: “We welcome the publication of this forward looking plan outlining infrastructure projects across the north.
"Small businesses need a dense, reliable and well-maintained road network to be able to grow and become more productive, so investing in roads and rail is vital. This is an important next step for businesses and communities.
"Although this is a long term plan looking ahead 30 years, small businesses need work to begin without delay. It’s critical that small firms are given a chance to secure any procurement opportunities before work starts.”
The consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan will run until April 17, 2018, with engagement events taking place across the North. A final version of the plan will be published later in the year and submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration.
Find out more by visiting www.transportforthenorth.com/stp.