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It is unfortunate that much of the coverage of yesterday's launch by Transport for the North ("TdN") of its Strategic Transport Plan focused on Lord Prescott's reaction rather to the plan rather than the plan itself (see Transport for the North unveil £70bn travel masterplan 16 Jan 2018 BBC). TfN may not have any any statutory powers or funding just now but it does have vision and that is a start.
Tfn's vision is to:
- Transform east - west inter-city connectivity, which has not previously received sufficient attention and investment.
- Support the North’s existing and future functional economic areas and assets and city regions as drivers of economic growth.
- Provide easier access to high quality jobs for more communities.
- Tackle overcrowding and congestion.
- Improve connectivity across the North’s transport network.
- Make areas of the North accessible for new housing, commercial and industrial developments.
- Strengthen businesses’ access to supply chains and the markets they serve.
- Access the world’s most important current and future markets to support trade, inward investment, and tourism.
- Deliver a sustainable transport network that supports improving quality of life and protects the environment.
- Establish a firm commitment to create a stronger, more diverse and resilient place to do business.
- Ensure that the North is an excellent place to live, work, visit, study and do business.
TfN believes that better transport links can lead to 2.1 million new jobs and an extra £100 billion in GVA.
As this blog is entitled IP Northwest readers may wonder what transport infrastructure has to do with IP and the answer is "a lot". First, there will be innovation in transport technology which covers everything from signalling to road maintenance. Secondly, shorter journeys will foster collaboration between businesses and researchers. Thirdly, greater prosperity will stimulate new markets for the arts. New inventions, brands, works of art and other intellectual assets will require legal protection.
TfN may not yet have the legal status or funding of Transport for London but there is no reason why they should not come in due. However, if anyone in Whitehall really did want to stymie TfN, calling it "a bloody fraud" would give them a great excuse.
Should anyone with to discuss TfN's strategic plan or other publications, he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or contact me through my message page.
17 Jan 2018 Northern Powerhouse resources