Devolution Act to take regional transport to 'next level'


After receiving Royal Assent last week, the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act will pave the way for regional transport bodies to be put on a statutory footing.

Transport for the North, the most senior and advanced of all the regional groupings of local authorities, welcomed the news stating it would enable ‘the north of England to draw down powers and resources from central government’.

Transport for the North on the way to statutory footing

TfN chair John Cridland said: ‘TfN began as a partnership between the northern cities, determined to improve transport infrastructure and services across the north of England, to grow the economy and create new business opportunities.

‘With the passage of this Act of Parliament, TfN can now move our partnership to a new level, speaking with one voice for the whole of the north, and with the legal powers we need to deliver on those ambitions. This is a big step forward for devolution, and a great opportunity to transform the connectivity of communities across the north.’

The publication of the Northern Transport Strategy is scheduled for March 2016 and will be a joint publication from TfN and government outlining investment priorities.

In a statement, TfN said it would also present specific devolution proposals including:

  • Powers to create a statutory northern transport strategy, setting out priorities for significant investment in the north’s inter-city road and rail network
  • Powers to coordinate and prioritise a new pan-northern system of smart and integrated ticketing
  • Powers to coordinate and oversee the delivery of ambitious and transformational cross-northern transport investments, by developing plans and commissioning and coordinating their delivery
  • A further strengthening of governance arrangements, allowing TfN to represent all communities across the north
  • Developing the role and powers of Rail North, devolving greater responsibility for oversight of the Northern and TransPennine rail services.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘Our changes, plus the £50m we are giving TfN up to 2020, underlines the Government’s commitment to building a Northern Powerhouse.

'This is a major step forward in making TfN a statutory body, giving local people a say in transport for their area. Giving TfN a legal basis will ensure it has impact, influence, and the certainty to plan and drive forward projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail (HS3) and the roll out of smart ticketing in the north.’


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