Transport for the North (TfN) has set out how it will create ‘England’s first pan-regional Strategic Transport Plan’ (STP) but appears to have put back plans to publish an initial draft of the document.
The sub-national transport body, which is due to secure statutory status this year, said its STP – of which an initial draft will be published in the Autumn – would boost economic growth in the North by improving road and rail links.
Road and rail links across the North will be key to the plan
TfN chief executive David Brown said he welcomed recent comments from business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark around the need for more powers and spending power to support devolution and local decision-making in the area of infrastructure.
He said these would be ‘key elements in making our Strategic Transport Plan for the North perform at its best’ and that the plan, which will last ‘until 2050 and beyond’, has the potential to deliver ‘massive’ returns on investment.
Mr Brown said: ‘Until now we have been largely working behind the scenes, gathering evidence and working with our partners to identify what needs to be done to create a plan for the North capable of delivering transformational change.
‘We are bringing together a strong set of proposals which, we believe, have the potential to not only transform the travel experience in the North, but also add close to £97bn and almost a million new jobs to our regional economy.’
In an interview published on the TfN website last month, TfN’s director of strategy, Nigel Foster, said an initial plan would be published for initial public engagement in late spring, with ‘a revised draft of the Strategic Transport Plan early next year’.
However, in a statement, TFN said an initial draft of the STP ‘will be published for public engagement in the autumn’.
A TfN spokesman told Transport Network that consultation 'in soft form' with stakeholders would take place over the summer. Asked about the apparently delayed publication of the initial plan, he said: ‘Possibly it has moved to the right.’
TfN confirmed that ‘Major Roads and Major Rail reports’ will be published in late spring and will inform the STP.
It said road and rail programmes ‘will form the backbone of the Plan and include a mix of initiatives aimed at easing congestion, reducing journey times and making the movement between the economic centres of the North as fluid as possible’.
TfN is currently identifying strategic road routes in the North that are important for economic development and developing proposals for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, which will link together six of the North’s major cities and Manchester International Airport with faster and more frequent rail connections.