The initial recommendations of the Union Connectivity Review, which covers how the quality and availability of transport infrastructure across the UK can support economic growth and quality of life, have been released to all MPs.
The review headed up by Sir Peter Hendy is a thorough analysis of the current state of transport infrastructure in the UK and presents ambitious solutions to improving connectivity, and includes three recommendations relevant to Carlisle and Cumbria that the Government should:
• design and implement a strategic transport network for the whole of the UK, with funding commitments targeted at parts of the network that require it the most;
• upgrade the West Coast Main Line north of Crewe to improve journey times and capacity and to enable HS2 to better serve connectivity between Scotland and England;
• offer funding to upgrade the key A75 link to improve freight and passenger connectivity between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Speaking John said, “I very much welcome the initial recommendations. The Government’s levelling up vision can only be achieved if the transport system across the UK on which we all rely supports and drives economic growth, facilitates job creation and strengthens communities. HS2 is a key component of this, increasing capacity, propelling economic growth and putting Carlisle firmly on the map as an integrated transport hub.
Links from the ferry ports via the A75 to the A74 and the M6 and A69 are also vital.”
In his letter, the Rt Hon Grant Schapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport said, “ I wholly welcome Sir Peter’s report and invite the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to work closely with us, in a spirit of collaboration and co-operation, to consider the review’s recommendations and to agree how a new strategic transport network for the whole United Kingdom and the vital upgrades highlighted by Sir Peter can be taken forward to strengthen transport connectivity for the benefit of all parts of the UK. As we build back better, the Government is determined to do so in a way that levels up across the UK, bringing communities across the country even closer together. Wherever you live in the UK, a connected local and national transport network will bring you closer to all the social and economic opportunities available.”