New report recommends a detailed long term plan needed for rail investment

New report recommends a detailed long term plan needed for rail investment

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has released its second National Infrastructure Assessment – A five yearly review into the current state of the nation’s infrastructure and networks.

The report has called for the government to set out a new long term integrated rail plan after its decision to cancel phase 2 of HS2.

In the assessment, it asks for an urgent review into the new Network North for the regions as well as a “rigorously costed portfolio of schemes with clear delivery timescales.”, with the new long term strategy setting out how it plans to address the ongoing connectivity and capacity issues between Birmingham and Manchester alongside how the government plan to support towns and cities on which their economic growth plans were based on the delivery of HS2.

It also calls for action to address capacity issues that currently blight urban areas across the country, leading with investment of between £22 billion between 2028 and 2045 in cities outside of the greater London area. It identifies cities with growth potential – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester as areas where a majority of that funding should be focused but also highlighting fast growing smaller cities like Norwich, Coventry and Lincoln as cities which could justify investment and long-term thinking in regards to rail.

The assessment’s recommendations have been welcomed by the chair of Transport for the North, Lord McLoughlin, who said: “we welcome this assessment from the National Infrastructure Commission and especially its recognition of the key role improved connectivity has to play in unlocking the potential of the North’s city-regions and towns.

“The evidence is clear, investing in the North’s transport system will make a difference for both residents and businesses, connecting people and places with opportunities and services. To realise this transformation, we must deliver on agreed priorities, and make it easier to do so. 

“This updated Assessment by the National Infrastructure Commission gives confidence to our communities and will encourage the private sector to continue to invest in the North’s success. In this way we are to deliver economic growth that is sustainable and inclusive for the longer term to transform the North.”

Sir John Armitt, policy head and chair of National Infrastructure Commission said: “The good news is that modern, reliable infrastructure can support economic growth, help tackle climate change and enhance the natural environment.

“We stand at a pivotal moment in time, with the opportunity to make a major difference to this country’s future. But we need to get on with it.

“People often talk about infrastructure as the backbone of our economy: what our infrastructure needs now is the collective mettle to turn commitments into action that will reap rewards for decades to come.”

Photo credit: iStock

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