Scotland and north of England announce enhancements to connectivity
Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown yesterday led a delegation of political, civic and transport chiefs in Newcastle where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
The agreement will see Scotland and the north of England work closer together to create a shared approach to the transport network. It is hoped that this transport connectivity will help realise the economic ambitions of Scotland and The Northern Powerhouse, by giving Scotland a voice in the Northern Transport Strategy being designed by the Transport for the North Partnership.
By working together, the strategy will set out a joint ambition to “radically enhance transport connectivity within and between the North of England and Scotland”.
The document was signed by Mr Brown alongside Transport for the North’s Board member Councillor Nick Forbes, at the Improving Connectivity conference in the city.
He said: “The Scottish Government believes that investment in Scotland’s transport is a key enabler for delivering sustainable growth by increasing competitiveness, supporting employment and opportunity. This commitment to investment in infrastructure can be seen in the great number of major transport projects we have delivered and are delivering – the Queensferry Crossing, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the Borders Railway.
“Alongside these projects, extending a high speed rail link to Scotland will ensure that businesses in Scotland and the north of England are able to compete and grow, as well as boosting vital supply chain economies.
“We recognise the strong connection we have with our neighbours in the north of England and that there are important flows of labour and goods across the border. Investment on one side of that border can affect economic outcomes on the other, and we can maximise the return on investment by sharing views, aspirations and plans.
“I look forward to this Memorandum of Understanding contributing to a cross-border transport network that will benefit us all.”
Councillor Forbes added: “In the North of England we are determined to take charge of our own transport needs and ensure investment is directed to create more and better jobs. Transport for the North gives for the first time our businesses and communities a say in how our roads, railways and other transport links are developed for the future.
“Better connections to Scotland as well as between our major cities in the north will be vital in transforming our economies. From offshore engineering to tourism the North of England and Scotland are joined together in a way that brings great opportunities for growth. This Memorandum of Understanding shows how we will both do all we can to ensure the travelling public and businesses see the benefits of co-operation for years to come. “
Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “We welcome this exciting partnership between Transport Scotland and Transport for the North which will help to improve connections between our great city regions and better our connectivity to key markets.
“Scotland’s cities have a strong story to tell, and collaboratively we are making a significant impact in a very competitive environment. By working together the Alliance partners are able to share knowledge regarding our transport networks and create projects of scale that will deliver an economically stronger future for Scotland.
“We are hopeful that this new partnership will help deliver the infrastructure required to create better transport links that will further drive the economic success of our cities.”