Legislation to turn the Transport for the North (TfN) partnership into a statutory sub-national transport body – with legal powers and duties – was laid in Parliament on November 16. TfN consists of 19 local authorities, business leaders and 11 local enterprise partnership areas. Once approved, TfN would become a statutory body with effect from April 1 2018, with powers which would include producing a statutory transport strategy for northern England which the government must formally consider when taking funding decisions. It may be given more powers in future. The Rail North association of local authorities will become part of TfN, and work with the DfT to co-manage the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises. The DfT has confirmed £150m is being given to TfN for smart ticketing, £60m for Northern Powerhouse Rail and £50m to run TfN. It is hoped that new powers for TfN will give it greater influence over national infrastructure decisions. TfN Chair John Cridland. ‘This is a 30-year transport strategy for the North that will help drive economic growth in the region and help to rebalance the UK economy.” There has been a lot of anger about the imbalance in spending on transport in the UK, with London and the south east getting a huge proportion. Manchester airport sees itself as key, rather than just Heathrow.
Transport for the North to become statutory body
16 Nov 2017 (Railway Gazette)
UK: Legislation to turn the Transport for the North partnership of 19 local authorities, business leaders and 11 local enterprise partnership areas into a statutory sub-national transport body with legal powers and duties was laid in Parliament on November 16.
Once approved, TfN would become a statutory body with effect from April 1 2018, with powers to:
produce a statutory transport strategy for northern England which the government must formally consider when taking funding decisions;
fund projects such as smart ticketing;
work with local authorities to fund, promote and deliver road schemes;
be consulted on rail franchises in the North;
should its members agree, request additional powers.
The Rail North association of local authorities will become part of TfN, and work with the Department for Transport to co-manage the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises.
The government has confirmed £150m is being made available to TfN for smart ticketing, £60m for Northern Powerhouse Rail and £50m to run TfN. This includes £18·5m for a programme to introduce smartcard season tickets for Northern, TransPennine Express and Merseyrail passengers by the end of 2018.
‘These new powers will give TfN far greater influence over national infrastructure decisions, as well the certainty they need to plan and drive forward projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing’, said Transport Minister Jesse Norman.
‘Becoming a sub-national transport body means that the Secretary of State of the day will take into account the North’s priorities when making transport infrastructure investment’, said TfN Chair John Cridland. ‘These priorities will be developed collaboratively and we are currently working with our partners to finalise the draft strategic transport plan, which will be published for public consultation early next year. This is a 30-year transport strategy for the North that will help drive economic growth in the region and help to rebalance the UK economy. Statutory status will ensure this plan is considered as a formal statutory document that can provide a solid, evidenced-based framework for transport investment in the North over the coming decades.’
Fastening our seat belts for take off – Manchester Airport
29TH AUGUST 2017 (Manchester Airport article)
Manchester Airport is the global gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and the largest airport outside of London, with more than 210 destinations served by 70 airlines. The airport is worth £1.87bn to the regional economy.
Manchester Airport MD, Collette Roche believes ‘the time is now’, for the government to ramp up its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse vision.
Talking about the next phase of the airport’s £1bn Transformation Programme, Collette said: “We are moving forward with this investment because we have confidence in the strength of the Northern economy and the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs to be created in the coming years.
“For the Northern Powerhouse to be genuinely competitive, cutting journey times through investment in the region is crucial, which could lead to the North securing direct flights to more than 20 new major global markets.”
Collette pointed to rail as a key driver in transformational improvements in productivity and growth. She believes a clear case had been made for investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail, which will boost connectivity between the North’s leading cities and Manchester Airport.
Adding 2.7m passengers over the past 12 months, representing growth of 11.4%, sees Manchester airport handling flights for more than 26 million people.
Collette said: “With around 22m people and 60% of all UK businesses located within a two-hour drive time of Manchester Airport, our growth is not only encouraging for the Northern Powerhouse, but also provides a gateway to the world through its vast air freight operation and logistics hub supporting international trade.”
On top of new US routes, Manchester Airport has also secured frequency increases to its Chinese routes, boosting the Northern Powerhouse’s links with Beijing and Hong Kong – key destinations in the global economy.
Mike Perls, North West chair of the Institute of Directors and CEO of MC2, added: “Connecting Beijing with Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse with such frequency is a great step forward and a significant opportunity for business. With the Chinese economy already worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the region, the ability for more businesses to begin to export or build on existing export deals will significantly add to this.”
Read more about Manchester Airport’s potential as a gateway from the Northern Powerhouse to the world in the Summer 2017 edition of Northern Light magazine.
Northern Powerhouse minister, and CEO of Rail for the North, both resign
June 16, 2017
The concept of the Northern Powerhouse was encouraged by George Osborne. He became the Chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in September 2016. While Heathrow likes to claim its 3rd runway would help the growth of the Northern Powerhouse, the reality is that profitable long haul flights from airports in the north would be negatively impacted by Heathrow getting a greater monopoly of them. The huge sums of public money that would need to be spent on Heathrow surface infrastructure would also possibly mean less money available to be spent in the north and the regions. The Conservative Manifesto said: “We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport”. However, now the Northern Powerhouse minister, Andrew Percy, has resigned from the job and decided to return to the backbenches. The Manchester Evening News says: “Questions have been raised about the Conservative’s commitment to former Chancellor’s George Osborne’s creation, a project to encourage economic growth in the north.” The Chief Executive of Transport for the North of England, David Brown, has also left his job, to work for Arriva.
Anger Over North-South Transport Spending Divide ‘Worth £59 Billion A Decade’
Almost 35,000 people have signed a petition demanding a U-turn.
31/07/2017 By Jasmin Gray Reporter, HuffPost UK
The government faces a backlash from angry northern commuters over transport spending
The Conservative Party is facing a growing backlash from angry northern commuters after it was revealed that the north of England has seen £59 billion less in transport spending compared to London over the last ten years.
Almost 35,000 people have signed a petition demanding more investment outside the capital amid a row over a North-South divide in government spending, with organisers claiming its success “lays bare the real anger in the north” about recent developments.
Last week, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced government support for a £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme for London just days after axing or downgrading rail projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North, the Press Association reported.
Meanwhile, figures published by the Institute of Public Research (IPPR) North revealed that the area is “underfunded” by almost £6 billion a year compared to London.
Separate analysis claimed that the vast majority of Department for Transport staff work in the capital and the south east, leading to an “institutional bias” that “patronises” northern commuters.
Leaders in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle say Grayling had created “considerable uncertainty” and raised fears about the future of the Northern Powerhouse and the government’s aim of rebalancing the UK economy.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram plan to convene a summit for northern political and business leaders in late August, before the return of Parliament.
IPPR director Ed Cox, who organised the petition, said the Department for Transport (DfT) “just isn’t listening” and called on the government to “deliver on its previous promises”.
“Its response has been to patronise northern commuters up-in-arms as mouthy troublemakers who need a good lecture on London’s special transport needs,” he said.
“The Government keeps saying that London businesses will pay half of Crossrail 2, but it’s being tin-eared on calls for the North to get these investment-raising powers too.
Cox added: “Northern businesses would like to contribute but we need Transport for the North to get the powers TfL has to raise investment for essential infrastructure.”
But the DfT insisted money for the north is not being cut, despite the fact earlier pledges to electrify trans-Pennine rail lines to improve speed and capacity are now in doubt.
Instead, new “bi-mode” trains which run on diesel and electricity are planned. Critics say electric trains are faster, cleaner and greener.
38 DEGREES – Almost 35,000 people have signed a petition demanding a U turn
A spokesperson for the DfT said in a statement: “Building transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, create jobs and spread wealth across the country. That’s why we’re spending £57 billion on HS2, which will better connect Manchester and Leeds to the Midlands and London.
“It’s also why we’re committed to improving trans-Pennine services, and are working with Transport for the North to cut journey times and increase capacity between the major cities of the north.
“We are currently investing over £1 billion to improve rail infrastructure across the North of England, and major upgrades to the Manchester – Leeds – York route are being designed and developed.
“We are also investing £800 million on new road schemes in the North West, creating around 600 jobs – including upgrading the M62 to a four-lane smart motorway.”
They continued: “In spending taxpayers’ money, it’s vital for the government to deliver value for the whole country.
“So while we have agreed to work further with Transport for London on Crossrail 2, we have also said that London needs to pay half of the upfront construction costs and we have not committed any public funding yet.”
The northern powerhouse risks being derailed by the government’s “absolute paranoia” over Heathrow expansion and an “over-emphasis on the south-east at the expense of everywhere else”, the managing director of Manchester airport has said.
In a stark message to Theresa May, who is due to decide this month on the contentious third runway at Heathrow airport, Ken O’Toole said ministers needed to draw up a national aviation policy to address the north-south economic divide.
“We need to be careful that the north and the UK as a whole is not overshadowed again by the south-east,” he said. “If we’re not careful that’s just going to take over.”
In an interview with the Guardian, O’Toole said he was confident May’s government was supportive of ex-chancellor George Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda – but said there was a lack of a national aviation policy behind the strategy.
“If you really want to drive the northern powerhouse, if you really want to drive the recalibration of north and south, Heathrow ain’t the answer – it’s Manchester airport,” he said.
“I’m not sure I would isolate it to Manchester being overlooked – there seems to be this absolute paranoia or over-emphasis on the south-east to the expense of everywhere else. How can you say you’ve got a national economic strategy if your aviation strategy seems to be over-emphasised on the south-east?”
In the fierce PR battle over the third runway, Heathrow has said that expanding its airport would deliver £12.5bn of growth to the north-west compared to Gatwick’s £8.6bn by 2050. But Manchester airport bosses say it will deliver more than £70bn for the region over the same period, nearly six times the figure put forward by Heathrow.
Pointing out that the £16.8bn Heathrow scheme could take up to 20 years before it is built, O’Toole said there was “a gap in terms of an aviation policy that’s going to make best use of what’s in the UK for those 15 to 20 years while we’re waiting for something to come along”.
Manchester airport is the third-biggest in the UK and the only hub, other than Heathrow, with two runways. Twenty five million passengers travel through Manchester airport every year but it has the capacity to carry 55 million, meaning it could overtake Gatwick to become the UK’s second-biggest airport within 15 to 20 years.
The airport was at the heart of former Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda, in part because it funnels as much as 60% of the business travel into the north of England. In October last year it hosted the Chinese president Xi Jinping on his state visit to the UK, when he launched a new direct flight from Manchester to Beijing – the first outside London.
O’Toole said the vote to leave the European Union would slow the airport’s growth because airlines and passengers “don’t like uncertainty”. “Airlines are deciding where to put planes and routes 12 to 18 months in advance,” he said. “The longer the uncertainty goes on the more likely that the UK misses out.”
He urged Brexit minister David Davis to urgently clarify whether Britain will seek to remain part of the historic EU open skies deal, which lets airlines fly from anywhere in the US to anywhere in the EU. Withdrawing from the deal would potentially mean airlines such as easyJet or Jet2 having to negotiate individual deals for each country they fly to.
O’Toole, who is on the board of Manchester Airports Group, which owns London Stansted, east Midlands and Bournemouth airports, described the government’s aviation policy to date as “some progress, but a lot more to do”.
He said: “Do we have integrated road, rail and airports? No. Do we have a taxation regime that supports and encourages airlines to bring capacity into the UK? No.
“Do we have an immigration service that while protecting the border, which is critical, actually makes it easy and appealing for people to visit the UK? I contend we don’t.
“Is it easy, cheap, quick and convenient to gain a visa to the UK? Again, it’s improved. I’m not saying there isn’t progress being made but there is a lot more that could be done.”