New government keeps regional transport plans on track


Theresa May’s new government is progressing plans to deliver statutory sub-national transport bodies in the North and the Midlands in the next two years, giving assurances to the key bodies that the programme is on track.

Senior figures including the new transport secretary Chris Grayling have met with Transport for the North (TfN) and Midlands Connect to confirm that under the new leadership there would be no let up on regional transport.


After the last government secured Royal Assent for the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act, the legal foundations were set for regional transport bodies to be put on a statutory footing.

Transport for the North is in line to receive statutory status next year, with Midlands Connect scheduled for 2018.

A Transport for the North spokeswoman told Transport Network: ‘Over the last few weeks, senior representatives from TfN have met with both Chris Grayling MP, and Andrew Percy MP, the new Northern Powerhouse minister. Both ministers have affirmed their continuing support for TfN’s work as it develops the first Northern Transport and Investment Strategy. Transport for the North continues to move towards statutory status in 2017.’

A Midlands Connect spokesman told Transport Network: ‘The Government made a commitment in this year’s budget to put Midlands Connect on to a statutory footing by 2018 and it continues to support us in our work to become a sub-national transport body.’

Transport for the North has released regional plans and strategy reports, which identify potential schemes such as the ‘Trans Pennine Tunnel’ – the strategic road link between Greater Manchester and the Sheffield City Region – as priorities for future investment.

Midlands Connect's transport strategy is due to be published in March 2017 and the partnership has already released its Picking up the Pace document, which sets out a case for accelerating the planning and design stages of key transport projects in the region so they can be built in the early 2020s.

The report highlights plans to tackle national road and rail bottlenecks through a Midlands Rail Hub and the Midlands Motorways Hub, both of which will feature in the 2017 strategy report, Midlands Connect said.

At a recent visit to Midlands Connect, Mr Grayling said: 'With its position at the heart of the UK, the Midlands is vital to the country’s success and I want the region to speak to Government with one voice on its future transport priorities.

'Midlands Connect is making great progress, building evidence of the region’s transport needs and bringing real momentum to making the Midlands an engine for growth. I look forward to working closely with Midlands Connect and seeing the proposals in the final strategy.'

The news comes as Surveyor Events has confirmed a one-day conference in Manchester on 10 November specifically designed to prepare local government for the transition towards regional transport planning.

Successful Regional Transport 2016 will feature keynote speakers including David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North and Cathy Miller deputy director for cities, policy and delivery at the Department for Transport.

Click here for the conference programme and to register.


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