North East business leaders met with Transport for the North chief executive David Brown today (19 June 2017) to hear plans for a Strategic Transport Plan for the North and share the business community’s priorities for transport investment in the region.
Photo caption: (l-r) David Brown, chief executive Transport for the North, Bob Cuffe, Regional Managing Director North East of Trinity Mirror who chaired the meeting.
The meeting, hosted by Newcastle International Airport, brought together North East England Chamber of Commerce members with Transport for the North (TfN) to talk about the North East’s needs, including investment in the Tyne & Wear Metro, the East Coast Mainline and HS2, as well as improvements to the region’s roads and better access to its ports and airports.
David Brown, Chief Executive of Transport for the North said: “The North has demonstrated its potential to be a performer on the world stage and, by stimulating the right infrastructure growth, we can support our key business capabilities and assets in connecting to global markets and locations.
“TfN’s role is to deliver long term strategic value for transport in the North, partnering with local and national Government, as well as the private sector. Improving surface access connections to the North’s airports will be a key focus of TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan. This will have the effect of extending catchment areas and increasing the demand for global air services which may connect direct from the region’s airports, boosting the efficiency of global businesses accessing Northern markets, and vice versa.”
A world-class transport network, better linking North East England with neighbouring regions and joining together the North’s major cities, could boost the UK economy by more than £97 billion by 2050 according to TfN’s Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, which was published last year.
International connectivity will also have a critical role to play in the future of North East England’s economy, with investment needed to help build on the region’s exporting strength.
Graeme Mason, Planning & Corporate Affairs Director at Newcastle Airport and Chair of the Chamber’s Transport Forum said: “Newcastle Airport is the international gateway for the North East and is crucial in delivering connectivity, with a number of our routes very important to the business economy, providing access to global markets.
“It’s vital that we as the business community speak loudly and clearly about our needs right across the board. That means championing the causes of road, rail, bus, Metro, ports and the airports – both independently, and as part of a whole which works together to deliver the integrated transport network the regional economy needs.”
The 2017 North East England Chamber of Commerce Members’ Manifesto also highlights the need for investment in transport infrastructure to help create a connected North East, including improvements to the A1, A19 and trans-Pennine road links, new air and sea links to support exporters and the development or a cohesive and responsive public transport system.
Arlen Pettitt, policy adviser at the Chamber, added: “Our members have told us transport investment ranks high on their list of priorities for North East England, in particular the need to improve our road and rail links with our northern neighbours, and the need to support our international gateways, like Newcastle International Airport, which play a crucial role in ensuring our businesses can trade and reach customers all around the world.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Transport for the North to ensure the voice of the region’s businesses is heard and the North East gets the investment it needs.”