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West Yorkshire CA stresses importance of rail investment for UK

A government review has been told that improving connections between the UK’s four devolved nations relies on investment into rail infrastructure in the Yorkshire region.

The calls to the Union Connectivity Review, chair by Sir Peter Hendy, were made by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and suggested that improving transport connections in and out of the region would be critical to improving ties between the four UK nations.

The eastern leg of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail - including a new line between Leeds and Manchester via central Bradford - the upgrading of the TransPennine line and investing in the East Coast Main Line are all among the projects highlighted as potentially revolutionising travel links with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s submission to the review said poor transport links were a “significant factor in holding back the development of economic links between our region and the other nations within the UK.”

It calls for investment in rail as an efficient, high capacity, low-carbon form of transport.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee will discuss the submission at its meeting on January 15, 2021.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “For West Yorkshire, better connections with the UK nations starts with improved transport links in and out of the region. I hope the Union Connectivity Review will reflect that in its recommendations and that the Government will take this into account when it publishes the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands.

“Delivering these improvements are essential to accelerating our recovery from the pandemic and addressing the social and economic disparities it has further exposed across Britain. Investment in better connections in and out of West Yorkshire is the path to improved links to the rest of the UK and Europe with all the opportunities that brings.

“To tackle the climate emergency, unlock economic growth and to level-up we need long-term whole-network planning and the delivery of promised rail investment.”

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