Faster road and rail links to Scotland, upgrades to Welsh railways and new connections between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are among the range of potential projects to be considered in a study into improving transport infrastructure across the United Kingdom, which was launched by the Prime Minister on 5 October.
Led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail, the independent review will look at how to boost transport infrastructure across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England – improving connections, creating new ones, and bringing communities closer together to level up access to jobs and opportunities.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “ Quality transport links are the key to making sure everyone can access education, jobs and housing, helping businesses to grow and thrive and rebalancing opportunity fairly across our country.”
Hendy’s study will work with the Devolved Administrations and local authorities.
It will cover road, rail, air and sea links advice on a wide range of possible options to improve the quality and availability of transport links across the UK, including by looking at the potential feasibility and economic case of options for:
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Connecting our towns, cities and communities through better transport links is at the heart of this Government’s work to fuel our economic recovery. That’s why we need to look at how we can improve the transport landscape across the UK, levelling up people’s access to work and education, and bringing communities closer together.”
Hendy has over 45 years working in the transport sector – including as Chair of Network Rail and successfully running London’s transport network during the Olympics.
Sir Peter Hendy said: “Connectivity drives economic growth, jobs and housing. Improving links across the UK on the basis of the wider economic benefits that increased investment will deliver will be of benefit to everyone in the UK, and I’m thus very pleased to lead this work.”
The review will also look at future technologies and assess environmental impacts of current and future infrastructure.
Hendy will be expected to publish his final recommendations in Summer 2021, to include advice on how best to improve connections, and whether that includes the need to invest in additional infrastructure by the UK Government.
Responding to the announcement, Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, said: “To be competitive UK PLC needs and deserves efficient, effective transport infrastructure that enables the movement of goods and services to the businesses that need them without delays. Transport infrastructure must be prioritised as the UK currently lags the rest of the world, and the right investment has the potential to transform economic performance at a regional as well as national level. Logistics UK has been highlighting transformative role of logistics in the levelling up agenda, and looks forward to working with the review to identify how connectivity and capacity can be improved and enhanced to benefit the movement of freight, as well as people.”
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