National Infrastructure lead visits Sheffield City Region
In Sheffield City Region last week, political and business representatives from Transport for the North (TfN) met with Lord Adonis, the Chair of the new National Infrastructure Commission, as part of his two-day fact-finding visit to the north of England.
Discussions took place between Lord Adonis, Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore, and Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership lead transport Board member Martin McKervey. This marks the first step for TfN in its development of a strong case to the Commission for pan-northern, transformational investment in transport infrastructure.
Lord Adonis was accompanied by TfN’s new Chief Executive David Brown throughout the visit, which also included sessions with representatives from Hull and the Humber, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
The meetings saw discussion of a wide range of topics related to connecting cities and towns in the North – the challenges, the benefits and opportunities to drive economic growth, and the supporting evidence that underpins TfN’s Northern Transport Strategy.
Martin McKervey, Sheffield City Region LEP member and partner at law firm Nabarro, said: “Sheffield City Region business leaders welcome the commitment to improving northern connectivity by developing a Northern Transport Strategy. This visit was an excellent opportunity for local leaders to speak directly with Lord Adonis about our ambitions to improve northern connectivity, which is an ambition we share with the Commission.
“The LEP looks forward to working with the National Infrastructure Commission and supports their commitment to long term infrastructure investment in the north. This commitment will give local businesses greater confidence to invest and grow, as we work with our local authority partners to deliver Sheffield City Region’s plan for growth.”
During the visit a Call for Evidence was launched by the commission, inviting all interested parties to make submissions on its initial three areas of focus.
Lord Adonis said: “Unlocking a new era of economic and social growth in the north will require significant and innovative infrastructure solutions. The new National Infrastructure Commission will assess these needs, identify priorities, and report to government to ensure that the north has the roads, rails, ports and other modes of transport to be the backbone to the northern powerhouse.”
TfN is a unique partnership between Northern local transport authorities, Government and the National Transport agencies. It was created in 2014 to allow the North to identify how best to drive economic growth through strategic investment in transport and allows the North to speak with one voice on the big decisions which benefit the region as a whole. The process to appoint an independent Chair before the end of 2015 is underway. Plans are also in place to develop TfN into a statutory body by 2017, supported by the government’s recent commitment to put regional transport bodies – like Transport for the North – on a statutory footing with the publication of proposals in Parliament.
The newly formed National Infrastructure Commission is charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. Lord Adonis’ team is working closely with TfN and its partner northern authorities to establish the evidence base and identify the options for future investment in strategic transport infrastructure, with a view to improving connectivity between cities, particularly east-west across the Pennines.
For further information on TfN, please see www.transportforthenorth.com
Photo caption (from left): Martin McKervey, SCR LEP, David Brown, TfN, Cllr Jones, SCC Leader, Lord Adonis, Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones, Bernadette Kelly, DfT, Martin Capstick, DfT