Draft Proposals Unveiled For Northern Infrastructure’s Future

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Draft Proposals Unveiled For Northern Infrastructure’s Future

Draft Proposals Unveiled For Northern Infrastructure’s Future

Transport for the North (TfN) has revealed its Strategic Transport Plan (STP) and Investment Programme, setting out the vision for the future of the north’s economy, including draft proposals for infrastructure covering the next 30 years.

It outlines how up to £70 billion worth of investment taking us up to the year 2050 will contribute towards an extra £100 billion in growth for the north’s economy, creating 850,000 extra jobs.

The pipeline intends to better connect the whole of the north, with a short, medium and long-term plan for investment, aiming to transform connectivity for both businesses and people, while making it easier to transport goods to, from and within the north. Flagship programmes include Northern Powerhouse Rail, further rollout of smart ticketing, enhancements to the existing rail network and upgraded and new major roads.

Chief executive of TfN Barry White had this to say on the matter: “For the people of the north, this will mean more choice over where they live and work, access to higher quality jobs and better connections to friends and families. It will mean our businesses have more opportunity to collaborate, trade and grow in a sustainable way.

“This final plan will be a statutory document written by the north, for the north, and will be our blueprint to deliver transformational change and leave a legacy for future generations.”

The STP itself has been designed to rebalance years of underinvestment in the region, transforming the lives of people in the north. The next step is for the plan to be considered by TfN’s board, meeting on February 7th.

At a local level, transport networks will be managed and invested in within economic clusters, such as in the likes of cycling, walking, roads, buses and – in some cases – light rail. The case has also been set out and priorities decided upon for connecting different economic clusters, airports and ports across the entire region. The blueprint for road and rail investment will enhance pan-northern connectivity, working alongside local transport investment to improve the entire journey.

Approximately 1.1 million businesses call the north home, with the region supporting over 7.7 million jobs and more than 15 million people, with population growth currently at 6.7 per cent. The economy of the north is approximately £343 billion, 19 per cent of the UK total – and if the north were a country, it would in fact be the 27th largest in the world.

But overall productivity in the region lags behind the UK average, with economic value per person consistently around 15 per cent below the rest of the UK. The Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review recently identified some of the key factors contributing towards this economic gap, including underinvestment in transport and poor links.

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