A £15bn transport strategy has been developed by a coalition of Northern cities and presented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today to call for investment across the North.
The report, One North: A Proposition for an interconnected North has been created in response to Sir David Higgins' report HS2 Plus and the Chancellor's call for the creation of a "Northern powerhouse" in a speech during a visit to Manchester on 23 June.
The One North report has been put together by an alliance between Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield.
The £15bn, 15-year investment plan complements the HS2 proposals, and aims to deliver a 150% additional capacity on roads and 55% quicker journey times on a faster, more frequent interconnected rail network.
The plan would also deliver new trains running on a 125mph trans-Pennine rail-link, a faster route to Newcastle and better access to ports and airports, including improving freight and logistics movements across the country and benefiting personal and business travellers.
In response to the report, Osborne said: "I'm ready to commit new money, new infrastructure, new transport and new science. And real new civic power too.
"Today I'm setting out the pathway to this Northern Powerhouse, so we deliver a real improvement in the long term economic performance of the north of England.
"This will be a centrepiece of my autumn statement – and part of our long term economic plan for the country."
Osborne presented HM Treasury analysis that showed that if the northern economy grows in line with the rest of the UK over the next 18 years, compared to previous 18 years, it would be worth an additional £56bn in nominal terms to the northern economy.
The report proposes:
- Increased road capacity for both freight and personal travel through extended managed motorways, addressing gaps in the network and improving links to ports
- Fast, frequent and high-quality intercity rail network joining up city regions, including a new trans-Pennine route, a faster link to Newcastle and improved access to Manchester Airport
- Improved regional rail networks to provide additional capacity and help sustain growth, interconnected with HS2 and intercity services plus local tram networks and more park and ride facilities
- Improved access to enable efficient freight movements by rail, road and water including ports, rail links and distribution centres
- Building HS2 early, extending Phase One to Crewe and bringing forwards the delivery of HS2 between Leeds and Sheffield
- Improving East/West rail freight capability across the Pennines, linking major ports to North-South rail routes
Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Sir David Higgins set us a challenge to make the case and we are responding in a single clear voice with this landmark report.
"Addressing these limitations will require ambitious action, co-operation and a co-ordinated approach to strategic planning and investment, bringing together rail, road, water and freight and enabling the great cities of the north to be more than the sum of their parts. We need a new holistic approach to strategic investment and planning. The reward would be a substantially increased contribution to the national economy."
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "In the 19th century almost half of the world's trade moved through the Port of Liverpool, but getting freight to and from the Liverpool City Region is just as important today, the planned SuperPORT is going to increase volume by 70% in 2030. So we need better, faster connectivity, both East-West and through HS2. Improved trans-Pennine connections will lead to a huge, exciting boost in commercial confidence and growth across the North as millions of people find it easier to do business with each other."