£5bn infrastructure investment plan to boost North’s economy
Transport for the North (TfN) has today set out its initial plans for a £5bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), a 30-year investment plan of infrastructure projects to underpin greener Northern growth.
This includes rail, road, active travel and smart ticketing proposals; some of which could be started over the next six to 18 months to help the economy recover from the pandemic, and create around 20,000 construction and design jobs in the North of England.
The NIP underpins TfN’s proposed Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) recently agreed by the North’s business and civic leaders.
Today is the announcement of the first tranche of 166 projects that could help create job opportunities immediately.
The ERP is aimed at accelerating delivery of infrastructure projects to help “rebuild and transform the North” by making transport more accessible and inclusive, and decarbonising the economy in years to come.
It is split into:
- Schemes that can be delivered within six to 18 months: Immediately supporting jobs and the region’s recovery
- Schemes that can start construction within two to four years: Supporting longer term economic recovery and rebuilding
- Schemes where immediate investment in accelerating the development of projects would support jobs, boost confidence and maintain an ongoing Northern Infrastructure Pipeline to transform the North
- It is also aimed at rebuilding and transforming the capacity and resilience of the North’s rail network and laying the groundwork for projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail.
And it highlights the need for accelerating the green transition, including pilots of hydrogen and battery powered trains, as well as rolling out essential charging infrastructure from electric vehicles.
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.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “It’s essential we start to rapidly Build Back Better and address the legacy of historic under investment in the North’s transport infrastructure.
“I’ve been making the case for a high quality, London-style integrated transport system that passengers in the Liverpool City Region desperately need and deserve.
“The Economic Recovery Plan has solid proposals for how we make a start in delivering that. I urge the Government to make good its commitment to do whatever it takes and work with us to put this plan into action.”
Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:“Our cross-border economy in the Mersey Dee and North Wales region is of significant importance.
“It is estimated infrastructure improvements would lead to an estimated 70,000 new jobs together with the fast-tracking of economic growth so that GVA grows to £50.5bn in 20 years.
“The Northern Infrastructure Pipeline would greatly assist this cross-border economy and demonstrably strengthen the union.”
Cllr Keith Little, cabinet member for Highways & Transport at Cumbria County Council, said: “I am delighted we’ve now agreed our Economic Recovery Plan with ambitions for a 30-year investment pipeline worth £5bn.
“This couldn’t come at a better time, allowing us to create up to 20,000 jobs and create greener and more sustainable transport options following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cllr Phil Riley, deputy leader and executive member for Growth & Development at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We have been saying for many years that the North needs more investment in its infrastructure. Now is the time for Government to deliver.
“With the damage COVID-19 has done to the economy, we need to invest to create jobs for us to recover.
“It is also imperative we get funding for projects that will keep us connected but also help us tackle the climate emergency.”
Cllr Hans Mundry, cabinet member for Transportation, Highways and Public Realm at Warrington Borough Council, said: “I think the North is not getting the same Government investment as the South and any move to address this imbalance has to be welcomed.
“My hope is this investment is seen as the starting point of investment in the North opening the economic benefits and potential of our area.”
Cllr Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “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.”
Cllr Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning at Lancashire County Council, said: “We’ve put forward a number of schemes as part of the Transport for the North Economic Recovery Plan which are at an advanced stage, and where an injection of cash now could lead to work on the ground being able to start quickly.
“These road, rail and sustainable transport improvements are needed to update our infrastructure and ensure Lancashire can meet the needs of residents and businesses as our economy recovers from the pandemic and grows over the coming years.
“There are also a number of bigger schemes within Lancashire where we already have a business case in development to support them, but investment at this stage could really accelerate their delivery.”
Damian Waters, CBI North West director, said: “Accelerated improvements to Northern infrastructure would help the region’s economic recovery as we look to build back better from COVID-19.
“Enabling Northern Powerhouse Rail is a crucial part of the levelling-up agenda, while steps towards smart ticketing and active travel reflect the findings of the CBI’s recent commuting report.
“This would all help to boost connectivity, improve passenger experiences and increase productivity for communities across the North.”
He added: “If government backs these plans it must work hand-in-hand with industry to ensure promises of investment turn into action.
“The delivery of this 30-year plan will unlock much-needed investment, create jobs and opportunities for young people, and inject vital cashflow into supply chains right across the North of England.”