Liberating the Northern Powerhouse

For many decades there has been a growing need to rebalance the distribution of business and commerce from London and the south east to the major cities in the north, primarily Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.

It is widely accepted that the economic development of the North will be underpinned by a comprehensive overhaul of the transport network and connectivity between the major cities.  Transport for the North (TfN) is the newly formed statutory body charged with developing a 30 year plan that will invest £70Bn between 2020 and 2050, which is seen as the driving force behind liberating the Northern Powerhouse.

TfN’s draft strategic transport plan is based on the Government’s commitment to deliver the full HS2 scheme connecting London to Manchester and Leeds, along with their latest plans to create new lines between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford and Liverpool to Manchester via the HS2 spur.

It is estimated that the two new lines will reduce journey times between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds to Manchester from 50 to 28 minutes and 49 to 30 minutes respectively.

These major schemes combined with the upgrading of lines between Sheffield, Manchester, Hull and Leeds will create an estimated 850,000 new jobs and boost the economy by £100Bn.

TfN’s current plans are not limited to Rail, as there a number of proposed schemes to the road network, primarily the link between Sheffield and Manchester via the a new trans-Pennine tunnel beneath the A268 Woodhead Pass, as well as major improvements to seven key road corridors where investment is seen as a fundamental ingredient to moving people and resources between the major northern cities.

CPC is already getting involved with new transport projects in the North, primarily with a role to review the Trans-Pennine Rail upgrade on behalf of the DfT.  We have also recently appointed a new Regional Lead to develop opportunities with TfN and other regional transport authorities and have secured a new appointment within their PMO to support TfN’s wider plans.

The key drivers behind TfN’s success will be the ongoing commitment from Westminster to fund the schemes in the North and the continued collaboration between the 19 local and combined authorities, the eleven Local Enterprise Partnerships, Highways England, HS2 and Network Rail.

The inaugural board meeting of TfN is to be held on 5 April 2018 and it is essential that all of these parties stick to the bold regional plan over and above individual city priorities.

Date: 28/02/2018
Category: Steve's Blog