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Plan to transform the North's transport set to be approved

27 Mar 2024

Political and business leaders in the North are set to approve a plan that will lay the foundations for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region for decades to come. 

This week’s Transport for the North(TfN) Board in Leeds on Wednesday is recommended to approve the Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for the North of England.  

The blueprint, which updates the previous plan adopted in 2019, sets out the case to transform the North’s transport system and will be used to shape TfN’s advice to government on pan-regional transport priorities for the North of England.  

The meeting will also discuss the more immediate priorities to ensure the North’s transport system functions effectively now. On the agenda are the performance of Avanti West Coast and what steps are appropriate to improve its performance on such a critical route, as well as the National Bus Strategy, and rail reform plans, which are currently going through pre-legislative scrutiny. 

The new STP sets out how better connectivity can enable economic growth, decarbonise our transport system and create more opportunities for all, for years to come. With the right investment and right policy levers alongside transformational transport infrastructure, we could a Northern economy that will be £118 billion larger by 2050. 

Wednesday’s meeting will be the culmination of extensive engagement and work with partners and stakeholders, including a 12-week consultation held last year. With – over 600 responses and more than 1700 comments – including, businesses, community groups and individuals, the feedback has helped shape the final Plan to be discussed by the Board.

It is an ambitious Plan, recognising the huge untapped potential the North has, based on the extensive evidence base that underpins it. It is focused on the outcomes needed for people and places, seeking to better connect communities and businesses with services and opportunities. And it sets out robust monitoring and evaluation to measure progress year-on-year, making sure the Plan is on track. 

The revised STP: 

  • Supports efforts to reduce car dependency and create the capacity required to grow patronage on our public transport network 
  • Recognises the scale of change required in accessibility needed to unlock opportunity and reduce social exclusion by one million people by 2050 
  • Sets out our pathway for near zero emissions from surface transport in the North of England by 2045 
  • Puts in place a long-term ambition to treble the share of freight carried by rail. 

Lord McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said:  

“Our Strategic Transport Plan sets out Transport for the North’s statutory advice to government on how the North, speaking with one voice, can reach a sustainable, socially inclusive transport network for the future, support growth and employment opportunities. 

“The STP will lay the foundations for the transport infrastructure investment for the North for decades to come. We will provide further advice to government on how the plan can be implemented, from the pan-regional investment pipeline required, to efficiencies in how transport infrastructure and services are delivered. The evidence in this STP shows how with sustained investment, the right policy levers and enabling behaviour change, we can truly transform the North.”