Leader of the Council asks for Local and Sustainable Transport in the North

10 September 2019

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Christine Gaskell CBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, spoke last week in Parliament at the Transport Across the North All-Party Parliamentary Group.

The group is a cross-party forum to promote discussion and investment in all forms of transport across the North of England.

Councillor Gittins was supporting:
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Upgrading to existing roads and investment in new major roads
  • Enhancements to the existing rail network; and
  • Continued roll out of smart ticketing.
"I want to stress the need for strategic infrastructure and at the same time emphasise the critical need for complementary budgetary provision for Local and Sustainable Transport in the North.

"It is recognised that the government is currently funding programmes of transport interventions that relate to Local and Sustainable Transport and Innovation, through the Transforming Cities Fund and Future Mobility Zones. However, the current emphasis on large cities and regional areas, alone is not sufficient. There are significant 'local' investment needs in the North's Towns and rural settlement areas such as Cheshire West and Chester."

"We require complementary investment at a local as well as a pan-Northern level for the 'whole journey'. This means targeting short trips that could be undertaken by public transport, cycling and walking, thereby reducing congestion, improving the environment, helping to tackle the climate emergency and supporting wider investment to secure an improved transport system."

Councillor Gittins used Little Neston as an example with limited buses in the evening, none on Sundays and poor access to trains that are still diesel and don't interact with modern electric lines.

At the event, Christine Gaskell CBE DL Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Cheshire and Warrington has the strongest economy in the North of England and sustained investment in fast, reliable broadband and the roads, railways and runways that transport our goods is absolutely critical to ensure our economy continues to out-perform, and provides the essential foundations for businesses to deliver employment and growth.

"One of the biggest constraints facing businesses in Cheshire and Warrington is access to people with the right talent and skills. Physical access, especially by public transport must be a priority - not just to and from, but across and within Cheshire and Warrington - so that we can open up opportunities for all residents, and attract more people to live and work here."

Transport for the North has identified seven strategic development corridors across the North, which will be the focus for improving transport infrastructure.

West and Wales is one of these seven corridors linking densely populated economic centres including some of the North's largest cities such as Liverpool and Manchester and Cheshire and North Wales - this corridor is home to six million people and 2.7 million jobs. It includes 25 local authority areas and 52 highly important economic centres.

Highlighting Chester, Councillor Gittins said: "Essential investment in Chester Rail Station would deliver transport infrastructure that would provide a Gateway that directly facilitates transformational economic growth not only in the immediate locality, through the unlocking of significant key development sites, but also via improved cross border connections."

Transport for the North 'asks' call on the Government to consider both short and long-term commitments to the North
It includes:
  • Commitment to a £7 billion Northern Infrastructure Pipeline - a list of shovel-ready road and rail projects to be delivered by the mid-2020s
  • Commitment to build the full £39 billion Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network by 2040
  • Commitment to £1 billion for Transport for the North over the next three years to deliver on its vision, including funding for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail and other road and rail schemes.
Councillor Karen Shore, Mike Amesbury MP, and Councillor Louise Gittins.
​​​​​​​Councillor Karen Shore, Mike Amesbury MP, and Councillor Louise Gittins.

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