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Mixed response to major transport plan for North of England

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Published at 1:16pm 17th January 2018.

It's claimed that a plan to completely change the North of England's transport links could deliver a £100 billion economic boost.

Seven 'corridors' have been identified as areas where connections need to be improved.

Transport for the North says its proposals would cost an extra £50 per person per year, but boosting road and rail links will create 850,000 more jobs by 2050.

Chairman John Cridland said: "The North is a rich, diverse region and home to around 16 million people. We have vibrant communities, buzzing cities, five stunning national parks, an abundance of talent and a wealth of high-performing businesses.

"Transport for the North's vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.

"For the first time, civic and business leaders and transport operators are speaking with one voice on transport to make sure the North fulfils its potential.

"Our plan proposes a revolutionary investment programme that will make it possible to travel to high-quality jobs.

"This is an ambitious programme that will improve our roads and railways, and will also drive a sea change in skills development in the North and ensuring we meet that historic gap in investment."

 

Business leaders have welcomed the plan, which includes proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail, a "rapid, reliable and resilient" rail network between the North's six biggest cities and other economic centres.

Beckie Hart, Yorkshire and Humber Director for the CBI which represents businesses, said: "The publication of Transport for the North's (TfN) Strategic Transport Plan is a significant milestone in delivering the infrastructure that is needed to boost productivity in Yorkshire and the Humber, and across the whole of the North of England.

"Through TfN's seven proposed strategic development corridors, Yorkshire and the Humber should see a number of improvements that businesses have long been calling for, including improved access to the region's ports and airports, enhancements to road connections North and South, and links from Leeds, Sheffield and Hull to the other key cities of the North through Northern Powerhouse Rail.

"Reaching this stage is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of elected and business leaders, who will be looking to see progress continue at pace."

However, campaign group Friends of the Earth says the plan should do more for people and the environment.

Yorkshire and Humber campaigner Simon Bowens said: "This much-needed transport plan must do more to protect our health and environment, as well as delivering important economic benefits. The plan mentions a reduction in carbon emissions, but more specific targets must be set.

"The effects of climate change, such as flooding, are already being seen in towns and cities across the North, while the air in cities such as Leeds is dangerously polluted.

"Action to improve air quality, cut climate-wrecking pollution and protect the North's natural environment must be at the very heart of this plan.

"We encourage local communities across the region to make their voices heard in the consultation."

Find out more about the Strategic Transport Plan at www.transportforthenorth.com

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