Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Next steps for transport connectivity in the Midlands and North of England - reallocated HS2 funding | Network North | Local Transport Fund | trailblazer devolution deals | municipal transport operation and ownership | decarbonisation

May 2024

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference examined policy priorities and the future for the transport network in the Midlands and North of England.

It took place following the Government's recent commitment of £4.7bn of reallocated HS2 funding to be used to improve local connections in the Midlands and the North through the new Local Transport Fund, part of Network North, which will operate from April 2025.

The conference was an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers to consider how government proposals will impact transport connectivity in the Midlands and North, assessing their feasibility, delivery and budget targets. Discussion also assessed the future for devolution and regional transport, within the context of the new trailblazer devolution deals for Manchester and the West Midlands. Discussion also assessed Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan and opportunities to support wider economic growth in the region.

Delegates considered how the Local Transport Fund will operate as local authorities prepare to develop funding plans for April 2025, and how local authorities can be held to account to ensure that funding is used appropriately and the voices of local communities are heard when decisions about spending are made.

It was also an opportunity to discuss the opposition’s plans for the UK’s rail and bus networks, and how this might impact service operation and long-term connectivity within and between the Midlands and the North.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Jessica Matthew, Co-Director, Local Transport Directorate, Department for Transport; Andrew Jones, Transport Lead, National Infrastructure Commission; David Harris, Transport Strategy and Place Manager, Transport for West Midlands; Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive, Transport for the North; and Andrew Meaney, Partner, Head of Transport, Oxera.

Sessions in the agenda included:

  • priorities: key issues for improving transport connectivity in the Midlands and North of England
  • implementation: realising the vision for Network North - implementing the Local Transport Fund - feasibility and delivery of proposals - identifying local needs - funding priorities
  • beyond HS2: the new landscape for connecting the Midlands and North and improving regional growth - lessons learned from the cancellation of phase 2 - comparing the cancellation of phase 2 with regional connectivity projects in other areas, such as Crossrail
  • devolution and transport policy: coordination at a local and regional level - collaboration between combined authorities within and across geographical regions - contributing to wider levelling up and economic objectives - delivering decarbonisation and sustainable growth in economic productivity
  • longer-term priorities for regional transport: plans in Greater Manchester - municipal bus ownership - decarbonising transport - alternative plans for improving connectivity and wider objectives
  • developing integrated transport systems: the role of integrated transport systems in encouraging modal shift and achieving objectives within different sectors - creating a coherent strategy across different transport sectors
  • government policy: priorities for transport in the Midlands and North - levelling up and achieving economic growth

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from Active Travel England; Defra; DfT; ORR; DESNZ; DLUHC; DWP; House of Commons Library; and the Welsh Government.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda