William Eichler 12 August 2020

Northern leaders announce £5bn infrastructure plans

Business and civic leaders across the North have called on the Government to back plans for a £5bn pipeline of infrastructure projects which they say could create up to 20,000 jobs.

Transport for the North (TfN) has today set out its initial plans for a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), a 30-year investment plan of infrastructure projects to underpin greener Northern growth.

This £5bn pipeline includes rail, road, active travel and smart ticketing proposals; some of which could be started over the next six-18 months to help boost the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pipeline underpins TfN’s proposed Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) recently agreed by the North’s leaders. Today is the announcement of the first tranche of 166 projects.

‘Our focus must be on rebuilding the North’s economy, which was already at an economic disadvantage to the South before COVID-19 hit,’ said Barry White, chief executive at Transport for the North.

‘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.’

The ERP is aimed at accelerating the delivery of infrastructure projects by making transport more accessible and inclusive. It is also aimed at decarbonising the economy, rebuilding and transforming the capacity and resilience of the North’s rail network.

‘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,’ continued Mr White.

‘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.’

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