Sub-national transport body Midlands Connect has signed a new ‘Collaboration Agreement’ with the Government, consolidating its position as a trusted partner and representative for the Midlands region.
As part of its remit, Midlands Connect provides a collective voice for the Midlands region’s transport efforts.
That has included the creation of a 25-year transport strategy which has the potential to deliver an additional £5bn annually to the UK economy and contribute to the Midlands Engine vision of creating 300,000 additional jobs in the region by 2030 and grow the regional economy overall by £54bn.
As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, the new agreement will ensure Midlands Connect can continue to focus on its two core functions: developing and maintaining this transport strategy and using the strategy to provide advice to the Transport Secretary about what investments should be prioritised.
This will be particularly important as the UK sets its vision in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan on how best to move people and goods around the UK and internationally, supporting economic recovery while still effectively addressing climate change.
As part of the newly-signed Collaboration Agreement, Midlands Connect commits:
- Support to the Department for Transport in tackling big strategic challenges including freight, decarbonisation, rural connectivity, alternative fuels and others - focusing on the region-specific aspects of such challenges where Midlands Connect can add most value.
Through the agreement, central government and national bodies commit to:
- Working openly and constructively with Midlands Connect at all levels
- Ensuring that the Midlands Connect Strategic Transport Plan is understood across Government in the context of national decision making.
- Providing a formal response from to future/updated Midlands Connect Transport Plans
- Facilitating regular dialogue between Midlands Connect, and Ministers regarding progress of the agreed priorities within the Midlands Connect Transport Strategy.
Speaking following the signing of the agreement, Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “The work of Midlands Connect is vital – local bodies know what’s best for their region, and where our investment will have the biggest impact as we level up transport and build back better.
“That’s why I’m delighted to sign the Collaboration Agreement between Midlands Connect and the Department for Transport, so we can work together on the region's priorities and improve the lives of people in the Midlands.”
Midlands Connect CEO Maria Machancoses added: “This is a landmark moment for Midlands Connect as we are the first transport body to sign this type of agreement with the Department for Transport. It's something we have worked tirelessly to get right and it will be the foundation of our relationship in the years ahead. Today is the day that Midlands Connect has really grown up and become a true leader in transport policy.
“The guiding principle of this agreement is that people living and working in Midlands, as represented by the region's business and political leaders, believe that collaboration with the Government will help us shape its decisions on what initiatives to support and where to invest.
“Ultimately, we want to make our transport networks more sustainable, and provide lasting, positive effects on the economy, the environment and the people of the Midlands.
“Our partnership as a region, and with Government is strong and this agreement will make it even stronger.”
Main Picture (L-R): Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect, Baroness Vere, Transport Minister, Sir John Peace, Chairman, Midlands Connect, Nick Abell, Chairman of Midlands Connect Steering Group.
Join Maria Machancoses as she speaks at TCR Midlands, taking part in insightful panel discussions at The Vox, Birmingham on February 10, 2022. Find out more here.