Reactions from across the Network to Government's transport package announcement
£16 billion of public support for rail was announced today (16/07/2012), which will support £9.4 billion of infrastructure enhancement
£5.2bn of this has previously been committed, including Thameslink, Crossrail and electrification of the Great Western Main Line and in the North West and Yorkshire. The additional £4.2bn includes:
- A new Electric Spine – a passenger and freight corridor linking the core centres of population and economic activity in the East and West Midlands and Yorkshire with the South of England, which includes electrifying the Midland Main Line
- Further targeted electrification alongside this, including the Great Western Main Line from Cardiff to Swansea and the Welsh Valleys; between Micklefield and Selby in Yorkshire and between Walsall and Rugeley in the West Midlands
- Increased rail capacity for commuters, with over £700 million to be invested on the most congested routes in London and the South east and over £400 million for other cities, including completing the Northern Hub that will link key Northern cities bringing clear benefits to Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester Leeds and Sheffield. Taken with Crossrail, this will provide for 120,000 additional commuting trips per day into London in the morning peak and 20,000 into our other major cities
- Further investment on Great Western Main Line, including at Bristol and Oxford Stations as well as additional track capacity on the approaches to Brist.
Here are some reactions to the news from Worcestershire, Leicester & Leicestershire, South East Midlands, Sheffield City Region, and Thames Valley Berkshire LEPs.
Peter Pawsey, chairman of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, praised the rail spending, in particular the proposed new £500 million link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow, something which the LEP has put its support behind.
Mr Pawsey said:
“There are wins to be celebrated in this Government announcement, with the Heathrow connection being particularly important.
“This green light will benefit thousands of businesses in Wales, the South West and the Thames Valley, but also in Worcestershire, as it is important to be able to easily access the country’s biggest airport.
“However, we also need to make progress on more local schemes – a go-ahead for the long suggested Worcestershire Parkway rail station at Norton and the proposed upgrade of Bromsgrove railway station would provide important connectivity for Worcestershire to London, Birmingham, Birmingham Airport and Bristol.”
Leicester & Leicestershire LEP chairman, Andrew Bacon, said:
"Electrifying the Midland Main Line is vital for the Leicester and Leicestershire economy. We have plans in place to create significant numbers of jobs and attract investment into the area over the next 10 years. This investment in our rail infrastructure will help our companies become more competitive and make the area more attractive for inward investment."
Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, Chair of South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) said:
"This is great news for the SEMLEP area. The Board of SEMLEP have committed £1m of its Growing Places Fund resources to enable this project to progress to 2014/15 when construction will now start. Improving east west links across the SEMLEP area is vital to enable growth in jobs and homes."
The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership today welcomed the Government announcement of the electrification of the entire Midland Mainline between Sheffield and the south of England.
James Newman, Chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“We are delighted that the Government is investing in this important project as this is clearly very good news for businesses, jobs and economic growth in the Sheffield City Region.
“The LEP has worked closely with a wide range of businesses and business organisations, MPs, local politicians and the media to present a united voice to Government with the clear message that electrification of the Midland Mainline is critical to creating jobs and ensuring future economic growth for the City Region.
”We are delighted that this joined up approach to lobbying and working in partnership across the City Region has been so successful and that the hard work of the Integrated Transport Authority in the Sheffield City Region in coordinating the business case for this investment has paid off.
“We are especially pleased that Government has listened to the needs of business the City Region and we look forward to reaping the benefits that electrification will bring to everyone.”
The Western Rail Access to Heathrow project has been sponsored by the Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) LEP and offers numerous benefits to businesses from as far as South Wales and the South West, all the way to the Thames Valley itself. Before now, Heathrow has only had rail access in the London direction, but the new plans will allow the airport to connect with 12 million more people direct.
Steve Lamb, Chair of the TVB LEP commented:
“This is great news for a number of regions across the UK. A common piece of feedback we hear from local enterprises and organisations looking to move to the area is access to Heathrow is a significant business benefit as it opens the door to the rest of the world’s emerging markets. The WRAtH project will give confidence to our businesses in the Thames Valley which is the most productive sub-region outside of London and is worth nearly £30bn.”
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