Northern Infrastructure Pipeline could rebuild and transform the North’s economy after COVID-19

Posted 12th August 2020
9 minutes read
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Transport for the North (TfN) has today set out its initial plans for a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), a 30-year investment plan of infrastructure projects to underpin greener Northern growth.

This £5 billion pipeline includes rail, road, active travel and smart ticketing proposals; some of which could be started over the next 6-18 months to help the economy ‘build back better’ after the COVID-19 pandemic, and help create around 20,000 construction and design jobs in the North of England.

The NIP underpins TfN’s proposed Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) recently agreed by the North’s business and civic leaders. Today is the announcement of the first tranche of 166 projects that could help create new job opportunities in the North immediately.

The ERP is aimed at accelerating delivery of infrastructure projects to help “rebuild and transform the North” by making transport more accessible and inclusive, and decarbonising the economy in the years to come.

It is split into the key areas of:

  • Schemes that can be delivered within 6-18 months: Immediately supporting jobs and the region’s recovery
  • Schemes that can start construction within 2-4 years: Supporting longer term economic recovery and rebuilding
  • Schemes where immediate investment in accelerating the development of projects would support jobs, boost confidence and maintain an ongoing Northern Infrastructure Pipeline to transform the North

It’s also aimed at rebuilding and transforming the capacity and resilience of the North’s rail network and laying the groundwork for projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail to futureproof the region’s railway for generations to come. It also highlights the need for accelerating the green transition, including pilots of hydrogen and battery powered trains, as well as rolling out essential charging infrastructure from electric vehicles.

Barry White, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said:

“Our focus must be on rebuilding the North’s economy, which was already at an economic disadvantage to the South before COVID-19 hit. Our Economic Recovery Plan outlines quick-fire ways to rapidly invest in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and initiatives, helping rebuild and transform the North over the next few years.

“We believe that’ll not only deliver an economic prize, to the tune of 20,000 jobs and a return of £3 for every £1 spent but – more importantly – a social return. It’ll help better connect communities, slash carbon emissions from transport in the North and support people in living healthier lives.

“Crucially, these aren’t new or over-ambitious asks. They’re projects already in the system that now need the starting gun firing or a bit of work to nudge them across the line.”

“The Economic Recovery Plan, and the Northern Infrastructure Pipeline within it, is aimed at how we rebuild and transform the North. It shows Northern leaders coming together at a time of national crisis and putting a united, pragmatic plan to our partners in Government, outlining some of the priority projects and when they could be delivered with the right will and collaboration.”

Comments from Transport for the North Members

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram
“It’s essential that we start to rapidly Build Back Better and address the legacy of historic under-investment in the North’s transport infrastructure.
“I’ve been making the case for a high quality, London-style integrated transport system that passengers in the Liverpool City Region desperately need and deserve. The Economic Recovery Plan has solid proposals for how we make a start in delivering that.
“I urge the Government to make good its commitment to do whatever it takes and work with us to put this plan into action.”

Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access at North Yorkshire County Council
“North Yorkshire County Council recognises the urgent need for additional investment in transport infrastructure for the north of England, and therefore give our full backing to TfN’s plans for a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline.
“We are England’s largest county and our residents need better, greener transport options especially east-west links, as they travel around. We have a range of proposals for investment in rail, roads and facilities for cycling and walking, and will continue to work alongside TfN to make these happen.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the City of York Council
“Investment in our region’s transport infrastructure and the success of Transport for the North is vital to the future of our city, whether that be economic growth, connecting our communities or building sustainable transport networks.
“It is crucial that the Government lives up to its promises to York and the North of England and provides the infrastructure and transport investment required to unlock the full potential of the North and enable us to deliver a sustainable long-term recovery.
“By backing the Northern Infrastructure Pipeline, the Government has a real chance to ensure that immediate steps are taken to build back better and develop more resilient, sustainable and inclusive economies for the North.”

Councillor Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport at Cumbria County Council
“I am delighted we’ve now agreed our Economic Recovery Plan with ambitions for a 30-year investment pipeline worth £5 billion. This couldn’t come at a better time, allowing us to create up to 20,000 jobs and create greener and more sustainable transport options following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I hope the Government recognises how vital this is to recovery in the North, and supports us.”

Councillor Phil Riley, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Growth & Development at Blackburn with Darwen Council
“As a key member of Transport for the North, we are backing this plan and we also urge Government to get behind it.
“We have been saying for many years that the North needs more investment in its infrastructure. Now is the time for Government to deliver on that.
“With the damage COVID-19 has done to the economy, we need to invest so to create jobs for us to recover. It is also imperative we get funding for projects that will keep us connected but also help us tackle the climate emergency.
“This plan clearly sets out projects which can be delivered over the next 30 years which will benefit all areas of the North including our borough. Being a member of Transport for the North gives Blackburn with Darwen Council a chance to shape and influence these plans.”