Wednesday 23rd August saw Leeds play host to the Northern Transport Summit, bringing business, council (Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle) and political leaders together to discuss the current and future state of transport infrastructure in the north of England.
Topping the agenda was the need to keep lobbying the Government for budget commitment to improve the transport network in the north and how currently the lion’s share of new legislation and approval is London centric, with the capital currently gaining all the available funding.
Another key topic that was widely discussed on the day was the commitment from the Government for the HS3 project, dubbed ‘Crossrail for the north’, to create a 30 minute high speed link between Leeds and Manchester.
Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Transforming rail connections across the north was part of the original plan to create a Northern Powerhouse and was estimated to bring £100 billion in economic growth as well as 850,000 new jobs.”
Delegates agreed that, whilst it is vital for the future growth of the UK, for London to see new investment in world class transport, this can and should not be at the detriment of the north, and called for the Government to make good on its promise to create the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
Whilst rail played a major part of the day’s discussions, the North’s road network sparked further calls for investment, with plans for the improvement of the region’s roads expected before the end of 2017. The plans are expected to show improvements to help better connect all of the major cities in the north.
David Aspin, CEO of the White Rose Office Park in Leeds commented:
“It is fantastic to see the north’s transport infrastructure being considered and drawing attention from the region’s senior-most decision makers at today’s summit. For too long Leeds and the north have missed out where London has gained, and I am delighted to see wheels put in motion to lobby for change. We fully support the calls of Judith and Leeds City Council to see the Northern Powerhouse become a reality.”