The UK transport secretary has announced a raft of measures to improve transport connectivity across the country.
Responding to Lord Hendy’s Union connectivity review, Mark Harper said projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will explore options to improve transport links that strengthen connections across communities and the UK.
The measures will be supported by other government investments including Network North, which has made a £1bn commitment to electrify the North Wales Main Line and fund upgrades to the A75 in Scotland.
The government’s response includes actions to enable protection of vital domestic air routes, alongside a series of studies to explore options to improve rail travel in Northern Ireland and Wales and road travel in Scotland, and enhancements to overall connectivity between Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.
Initiatives announced include:
- providing £8m to the Scottish government for the development of options to improve the A75, in addition to the funding committed in Network North to deliver targeted improvements following the Scottish government’s identification of a preferred option through the business case process;
- providing £3.3m to Translink to deliver a study on the cost, feasibility and value for money of electrification of the railway in Northern Ireland from Belfast to border.
These measures are designed to complement existing recent investments from Network North to:
- provide an £1bn investment to fund the electrification of the North Wales Main Line, bringing parts of North Wales within an hour of Manchester and providing more punctual and reliable journeys on the 105-mile route between Crewe and Holyhead, alongside connections to Liverpool, Warrington and Wrexham;
- delivering the Midlands Rail Hub in full by investing £1.75bn to improve journey times, increase capacity and boost frequency of services, including between Cardiff and Birmingham.
Harper said: “A better-connected UK brings communities closer to opportunities that support levelling-up and unlock economic growth.
“Our response to the Union connectivity review marks an important step in increasing UK connectivity and delivering the strong, reliable transport connections people depend on every day.”
Lord Hendy welcomed the government’s response and said his recommendations outlined the next steps that the government should take to identify investments that will improve connectivity and support economic growth, job creation, house building, social cohesion and sustainability.
“The government’s response shows that it is taking the necessary actions to move this work forward and demonstrates its commitment to improving UK connectivity,” said Hendy.