Transport Committee says government need to revisit Rail Plan - CILT(UK)
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Transport Committee says government need to revisit Rail Plan

27 July 2022/Categories: Rail, Transport Planning

The Transport Committee want a thorough reassessment of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan to ensure the investment in rail is not a missed opportunity to address regional imbalances.

The report, The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands says that alternative options, which could transform stations and city centres in key Northern cities, have not been properly tested. Leaving out key elements of analysis of the wider economic impacts of the different options set out for Northern Powerhouse Rail means that value for money and economic return cannot be compared and validated, says the report.

The Committee wants a full analysis of the wider economic impacts, and a full benefit-cost ratio, for the different Northern Powerhouse Rail options. If the results demonstrate that other options offer better value and outcomes for the taxpayer, economy and the communities directly impacted, MPs say Government ‘must grasp the nettle’ and make the necessary changes.

The Committee is concerned that the case for the IRP is based on a best-case scenario which ‘may not come to pass.’ The promised journey times may not be feasible and the issue of how to increase track capacity, including for local services and freight, has been overlooked.

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:

“We welcome the scale of the Government’s promised spending on rail. At £96 billion, the Government has billed it ‘the largest single rail investment ever made by a UK Government’. The Committee agrees it has the potential to transform rail travel for future generations.

“However, many towns and cities are already disappointed by the proposals which have been set out. The Prime Minister promised that he would, with Northern Powerhouse Rail, do for the North what he did for Londoners with Crossrail. Instead, much of the track will be an upgrade of existing line. The business case of HS2 was based on it going east to Leeds. Now, it stops in the East Midlands without any understanding of how much money is saved. Those we spoke to from the cities of Leeds and Bradford, in particular, do not recognise that the finalised plans meet either the promises they believe were made or the Prime Minister’s stated aims.”




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