Saturday, 5 November 2016
Transport for the North parliamentary meeting
I mentioned I had met with David Brown, Chief Executive at Transport for the North (TfN) to discuss plans for future investment in IEast Lancashire, notably the M65 as well as recently submitted proposal to the Department for Transport to become a statutory Sub-national Transport Body.
Since its inception in 2014, TfN has been working together with local authorities and stakeholders to allow the North to speak with one voice on the big decisions to benefit the region as a whole.
In March 2015 TfN unveiled its vision to help build the Northern Powerhouse by transforming connectivity with a host of transport improvements. I have remain a huge sceptic of the Governments intention to invest in the North. http://bit.ly/2f1ZBL0 The Government says it is committing to investing £13 billion on transport projects across the North and I believe the M65 should be one of those projects.
TfNs blueprint sets out a strategic economic case with plans for rail, highways, freight, inter-city connectivity and integrated transport services including a smart ticketing system.
A world-class transport system must better link up the individual cities and towns in the North, to allow them to function as a single economy and be stronger than the sum of their parts. I will be lobbying Transport for the North to identify the issues and coming up with real solutions. Securing its status as a statutory Sub-national Transport Body is a step forward though I believe there is a democratic deficit with TfN.
David Brown, Chief Executive of Transport for the North, said:
“What we want to do is better connect the major urban centres and economic assets of the North to market opportunities. This will mean better connections for everyone including talented staff, suppliers, collaborators and customers at home and abroad. If we get this right then a higher-performing, more unified Northern economy will be a magnet for inward investment. And, if we do that, it could add more than £97 billion in real terms in gross value added and 850,000 new jobs by 2050. Clearly this is a prize worth having both for the North and the rest of the UK.”
The proposal for STB status, submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP sets out the powers the organisation is seeking to have transferred from central government, and the basis on which these powers will be governed and delivered.
The Secretary of State will consider the proposal, and if he approves it, will draft a Statutory Instrument, which will then need to be approved by each House of Parliament.
1. TfN has requested the power to:
· Develop a Northern Transport Strategy, coordinating investment and work across the region to drive economic growth
· Coordinate and deliver one smart, integrated ticketing system across the North
2. Together with the Department for Transport, TfN wants to:
· Set objectives in the region for Network Rail and Highways England to ensure that their priorities are driven by the needs of the North
· Share responsibility for running the TransPennine Express and Northern rail franchises with DfT, with an emphasis on investment and long-term planning
3. Together with our partner authorities, TfN has requested:
· The power to promote economic, social and environmental well-being in TfN’s area
· The power to promote or oppose local or personal Bills in Parliament, or apply for orders to construct and operate railways, tramways, and other guided transport systems
· The power to carry passengers by railway throughout the North and from the North to other places in Great Britain
· The right to be consulted on invitations to tender for rail franchise agreements affecting the North and the power to enter into agreements with the Secretary of State or franchise operators in connection with such franchises
· The power to make capital grants to persons for the provision or improvement of facilities for public passenger transport
· The power to construct highways, or to enter into agreements with the government or Highways England to build, improve or maintain highways