There was a good range of transport related news announced in the budget, some of which is slightly buried in the detail. We have pulled out and consolidated the relevant sections below so that you can read them at a glance.
We are looking forward to reviewing the Northern Transport Strategy, when issued, sharing our views on the key elements in a follow up alert.
To build the Northern Powerhouse, the government is already:
- committing £13 billion of investment to transport in the north of England: connecting cities, electrifying the main rail routes, building the northern rail hub, and providing new trains through the new northern rail franchise
- supporting a further £2.7 billion of investment for new trains on the east coast, and investing in major road upgrades including the A1, M62, M1, A556 and Mersey Gateway Bridge, in addition to the £50 billion commitment to develop High Speed 2 (HS2)
- devolving power to Sheffield, including over transport, skills and business support
In October 2014, the Chancellor announced the creation of Transport for the North (TfN), which will draw up a comprehensive Northern Transport Strategy. TfN will shortly publish an interim report, which will set out the strategic options for future transport investment in the north of England, committing to build on the concept of HS3 to develop a network of high quality rail connections across the north – the TransNorth vision; bring the benefits of HS2 to the north sooner than planned; and work towards a single smart and integrated ticketing system across the region.
The government will now proceed with electrification of the Selby to Hull line electrification by the end of Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (2019 to 2024), subject to an acceptable contribution from Hull Trains and a business case, to complete the full electrification of the historic trade route between Liverpool and Hull.
A new devolution deal with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will give West Yorkshire new powers over skills, business support and transport. The government will launch two pilots in Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester in 2015-16, to trial local sharing initiatives in the areas of shared transport, shared public space and health and social care.
The government has already committed £5.2 billion to transport infrastructure across the Midlands. On top of this, the government is delivering HS2. The government will fund a High Speed Rail Investment Summit in Birmingham, which will be delivered jointly by UK Trade and Investment and Marketing Birmingham and which will focus overseas investment to the UK on regeneration and supply chain opportunities created around High Speed 2.
East of England
The government has already committed £4.2 billion to transport infrastructure in the East of England. Budget 2015 sets out plans to go further, including £34 million of additional government funding plus a further £16 million from Transport for London for the development of the Croxley rail link to extend the Metropolitan Line on the London Underground to Watford Junction on the West Coast Main Line (subject to final approval of the scheme), and £4 million for further development of the Wet Dock Crossing in Ipswich, and Lowestoft Third River Crossing.
The government has already committed £7.2 billion to transport infrastructure in the South West. This includes: £2 billion on upgrading key roads such as the A30, A303, A358 and the M5; a new tunnel at Stonehenge; and electrification of the Great Western Main Line. In January 2015, the Chancellor announced a new South West Peninsula Rail Task Force to bring forward proposals for strategic and local rail schemes.
The Secretary of State for Transport will shortly set out details of the new franchise for the Great Western Route until 2019, which will introduce the new £3 billion Intercity Express trains, more frequent services and faster journey times.
To reduce costs for businesses, once the Severn River Crossings are in public ownership after 2018, the government will abolish Category 2 tolls (small goods vehicles and small buses) and include those vehicles in Category 1 (motor cars and motor caravans).
The government has asked the South West Peninsula Task Force on rail to consider improvements to the Exeter to Salisbury line as part of its work. The government also encourages the relevant local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a business case for investment in the North Devon Link road, to form the basis of a future application to the Local Growth Fund.
Plymouth Marine Enterprise Zone and airport: The government will seek to create a new Enterprise Zone on the south Naval Dockyard site, and commission a new study into the possibility of reopening Plymouth airport.
London and the South East
The government will provide a further £34 million to support the delivery of the Croxley rail link project, subject to a £16 million contribution from Transport for London and final approval of the scheme.
The government will provide £100,000 for a further study into reopening the Lewes to Uckfield rail line.
Highways England will launch before the end of this Parliament their Delivery Plan which will set out further detail on the roads investment programme from 2015-2020. For more detail on Highways England and the Road Investment Strategy, please see our forthcoming briefing on the transport elements of the Infrastructure Act 2015.