Smart Transport

Government creates council to accelerate Northern transport projects

Grant Shapps

The Government has launched the Northern Transport Acceleration Council to give northern leaders a 'direct line' to ministers to speed up transport projects.

The council aims to cut bureaucracy and red tape so passengers can get "the modern, reliable transport network they deserve as quickly as possible".

It has been announced alongside a £589 million investment to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

As part of the Government’s wider strategy to level up communities and strengthen devolution, the council's work will engage with Department for Transport staff based in northern cities and dedicated to delivering for the North.

The first meeting will take place in September and will be made up of mayors and council leaders with Transport Secretary and Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps as chair. 

The council will work closely with the Northern Powerhouse Growth Body to improve outcomes for people and places in the North.

Shapps said: "People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure.

"We are determined to build back better at pace, and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, welcomed the news, describing it as a "gear change from the Government". 

He said: "People here deserve a modern, reliable public transport system and it is my hope that the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will bring forward the day when that is a reality.

"It is crucial that the council listens to the voice of the North and is accountable to people here through their elected politicians and bodies such as Transport for the North."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: "This new body will not only give leaders like me another avenue to press our transport case to ministers, DfT staff based in the North will also see first-hand the challenges and opportunities we face, and the improvements and projects needed to unlock further growth and prosperity, with the ability to act on these."

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