PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON BEHALF OF TRANSPORT FOR THE NORTH
Political and business representatives from Transport for the North (TfN) met with Lord Adonis, the Chair of the new National Infrastructure Commission, in Leeds today as part of his fact-finding visit to the north of England.
During the visit discussions took place between Lord Adonis, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee Councillor Keith Wakefield, local authorities leaders including Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake and regional business leaders.
Lord Adonis was accompanied by TfN’s new Chief Executive David Brown throughout the visit, which marks the first step for TfN in its development of a strong case to the commission for pan-northern, transformational investment in transport infrastructure.
The meetings saw discussion of a wide range of topics related to connecting cities and towns in the north – the challenges, the benefits and opportunities to drive economic growth, and the supporting evidence that underpins TfN’s Northern Transport Strategy.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said:
“Today’s meeting has been an opportunity for us to stress again the need for sustained investment to meet the growing demand in existing transport services and the large scale schemes that will deliver comprehensive and far-reaching improvements in connectivity across the north.
“As well as the key upgrades to east-west TransPennine and Calder Valley rail routes, improved road links across the Pennines and key north-south links that HS2 will deliver, this also means better connections within West Yorkshire and the City Region, such as new links to Leeds Bradford Airport that will underpin local economic growth.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:
“We were very pleased to welcome Lord Adonis to Leeds today to discuss his new role overseeing national infrastructure investment. We were heartened by his comments when taking the role of the need for real and significant transport infrastructure improvements in the north to help rebalance the economy and reverse the trend which continues to see the north receiving a fraction of the investment given to the south. Our talks today were positive so we look forward to him now making firm commitments to back up those words with actions and making a real difference to people’s lives and our economic future.”
During the visit a Call for Evidence was launched by the commission, inviting all interested parties to make submissions on its initial three areas of focus.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said:
“Unlocking a new era of economic and social growth in the north will require significant and innovative infrastructure solutions. The new National Infrastructure Commission will assess these needs, identify priorities, and report to government to ensure that the north has the roads, rails, ports and other modes of transport to be the backbone to the northern powerhouse.”
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“We were delighted to host Lord Adonis in the region today and start a positive and encouraging dialogue about future investment in infrastructure across the Leeds City Region and the north as a whole.
“The transport and infrastructure agenda is essential to building a successful northern powerhouse, but we must be absolutely clear on what we will deem to be a success in ten to fifteen years’ time.
“Once the components of the northern powerhouse agenda have been established, we can further build our relationship with the National Infrastructure Commission. This will enable us to take strategic decisions on the investments that will yield the greatest results for transformational northern and national economic and social advantage.”
Transport for the North is a unique partnership between northern local transport authorities, government and the national transport agencies. It was created in 2014 to allow the north to identify how best to drive economic growth through strategic investment in transport and allows the north to speak with one voice on the big decisions which benefit the region as a whole. The process to appoint an independent Chair before the end of 2015 is underway. Plans are also in place to develop TfN into a statutory body by 2017, supported by the government’s recent commitment to put regional transport bodies - like Transport for the North - on a statutory footing with the publication of proposals in Parliament.
The newly-formed National Infrastructure Commission is charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. Lord Adonis’ team is working closely with TfN and its partner northern authorities to establish the evidence base and identify the options for future investment in strategic transport infrastructure, with a view to improving connectivity between cities, particularly east-west across the Pennines.
For further information on TfN, please see www.transportforthenorth.com.
Media contact: 0161 244 1055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
1) About Transport for the North:
- In October 2014, the government created a new body called Transport for the North made up of the northern city regions. This body will work together with other authorities and stakeholders and allow the North to speak with one voice on the big decisions to benefit the region as a whole. Civic leaders, business people and transport experts are involved in Transport for the North.
- The northern city regions (Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, the North East, Hull and the Humber, North Yorkshire, Tees Valley, Cumbria, Lancashire, Warrington and Cheshire), are working with the LEPs, government and national agencies (Highways England, HS2 Ltd and Network Rail) through the TfN Partnership Board to develop a Northern Transport Strategy.