Transport for the North (TfN) Chief Executive Martin Tugwell issued a rallying cry at the Transport For The North conference, held in Liverpool yesterday.
Urging for a shift in investment strategy towards the North of England, Tugwell argued that a "one size fits all" approach is hindering the region's potential, and called for devolution of powers to unlock "transformational change."
Tugwell outlined a vision for a North empowered to decide its own transport needs: "There is a prize to transform the North up for grabs," he declared, "but it requires both investment and devolution of powers to those closest to the people and places that will benefit." He emphasised the need for a strategic approach that prioritises both people and places, advocating for better public transport options and infrastructure that promotes sustainable, inclusive growth.
Our Conference are now hearing from Minister of State for Rail & HS2, @HuwMerriman, where he is setting out the work the Government is doing to #TransformTheNorth through investing in an expansion of NPR and electrification of key lines across the region. pic.twitter.com/7ApBT7Nrox— Transport for the North (@Transport4North) February 5, 2024
The blueprint for this vision lies in TfN's revised Strategic Transport Plan (STP), presented as a roadmap towards a more connected North. This plan, according to Tugwell, "sets out how the people living and working in the North, as represented by the business and political leaders on the TfN Board, speaking with 'one voice,' are best placed to set out the connectivity outcomes needed to transform the North."
Lord McLoughlin, Chair of TfN, echoed Tugwell's call for tailored investment: "Investment in transport infrastructure and services is more important than ever," he stated. He emphasised the STP's role in advocating for a different approach, one that "sets out how we need to do things differently if we want a different outcome, if we want to truly achieve transformation for the North's people and places."
🗣️ "How do we transform the rail network in the North? I think there's a simple answer: local public control."— Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (@MayorofGM) February 5, 2024
🚆 Andy has been at the @Transport4North conference in Liverpool today, talking about improving accountability and integration in public transport.#transformthenorth pic.twitter.com/JzfrkGe56A
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham was also at the event and spoke about how local control over the rail network would help the regions and communities and asked for more budgetary consultation when it came to large infrastructure projects in the North.
The event also heard from rail minister, Huw Merriman, who spoke on the government’s plan for Network North. Merriman highlighted how the expansion of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and the electrification of key lines including the North Wales Mainline would help ease the pressure on the regions network and improve capacity.
Photo Credit: iStock