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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Transport for the North sets out new plans

A lot has changed since the Transport for the North’s last plan, five years ago, including the cancellation of HS2 north of Birmingham.

The new strategic transport plan (STP), approved at a Transport for the North board meeting, sets out the case for improving connectivity to enable economic growth, decarbonising the transport system and creating economic opportunities.

The first STP set out the case for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). The 2024 plan is focused on outcomes, including:

an ambition for near zero emissions from surface transport in the region by 2045

efforts to reduce car dependency and improve public transport

treble the share of freight carried by rail.

“We need to ensure we maintain and grow an efficient multimodal freight network by improving gaps in connectivity, including to newly designated freeports and enable growth in freight flows,” the report says.

However, there is still a big HS2-shaped hole in the middle of TfN’s ambitions. The report states: “Our evidence base also shows that High Speed 2 (HS2) phases 2a and 2b were fundamental to transforming connectivity and capacity. So there remains a need to identify solutions in the absence of HS2 as planned, that will deliver a similar level of connectivity/capacity to and from the north.”

Transport for the North chair Lord McLoughlin – who as Patrick McLoughlin had a two-year stint as secretary of state for transport in the coalition government a decade ago – said:

“Our strategic transport plan sets out Transport for the North’s statutory advice to government on how the North, speaking with one voice, can reach a sustainable, socially inclusive transport network for the future, support growth and employment opportunities… The evidence in this STP shows how with sustained investment, the right policy levers and enabling behaviour change, we can truly transform the north.”

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