Transport for the North (TfN) has set out initial plans for a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline, a 30-year investment plan of transport projects in the North of England.
The £5 billion proposal includes road, rail, active travel and technological upgrades to infrastructure, some of which could be started within six to 18 months, to help ‘build back better’ following the impact of Covid-19 as well as underpin greener economic growth and create 20,000 construction and design jobs in the region. Longer term schemes include accelerating the East-West Northern Powerhouse Rail, and accelerating a transition to hydrogen and battery-powered trains.
In Cheshire, TfN propose a number of road improvements, as well as an improved ticketing system for regular train passengers, and station upgrades. The proposals also back HS2 and associated upgrades to Crewe station, improving connectivity and capacity for rail users elsewhere in the county.
Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said:
Our focus must be on rebuilding the North’s economy, which was already at an economic disadvantage to the South before COVID-19 hit. Our Economic Recovery Plan outlines quick-fire ways to rapidly invest in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and initiatives, helping rebuild and transform the North over the next few years.
“We believe that’ll not only deliver an economic prize, to the tune of 20,000 jobs and a return of £3 for every £1 spent but – more importantly – a social return. It’ll help better connect communities, slash carbon emissions from transport in the North and support people in living healthier lives.
“Crucially, these aren’t new or over-ambitious asks. They’re projects already in the system that now need the starting gun firing or a bit of work to nudge them across the line. We have welcomed the Government’s ambition to accelerate projects and this is a great opportunity for its recently formed Northern Transport Acceleration Council to drive forward the delivery of projects. This sets up a great combination – Transport for the North using its local knowledge to identify projects and Government using its political heft to push forward delivery.
“The Economic Recovery Plan, and the Northern Infrastructure Pipeline within it, is aimed at how we rebuild and transform the North. It shows Northern leaders coming together at a time of national crisis and putting a united, pragmatic plan to our partners in Government, outlining some of the priority projects and when they could be delivered with the right will and collaboration.”
TfN’s proposals have been submitted to the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, for consideration.
Cllr Craig Browne, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council
It is now more important than ever that we are able to fully capitalise on the opportunities that HS2 and NPR offer to the North and this requires the delivery of the right infrastructure to support it.
“For Crewe and the wider region, this includes both a new north connection allowing HS2 and NPR services to travel north from Crewe to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds and beyond and investment in a Crewe station to make it an excellent passenger interchange experience and hub for growth and regeneration of Crewe for the wider economy of Cheshire and Warrington, Staffordshire, and North Wales.”