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Industry News

The consultation on a 30-year transport strategy that could help unlock £100 billion of investment and create 850,000 jobs across the North is coming to the end of the line.

Businesses and organisations across Cumbria have until Tuesday, April 17, to have their say on the Transport for the North’s (TfN) Strategic Transport Plan.

It was launched at Carlisle College’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre in January and is designed to help boost productivity and jobs and close the gap between the economy of the North and the rest of England.

It sets out priorities for Government funding in road and rail projects until 2050.

Cumbria features prominently in the plan and is included in two of seven strategic ‘corridors’ which link key economic centres across the region.

The Connecting the Energy Coasts corridor looks to better link important economic centres including towns, ports, business parks and industrial facilities stretching from Carlisle, along the west of the county to Barrow, with north Lancashire and the North East coastal area.

The North West to Sheffield City Region corridor looks to strengthen rail connections between advanced manufacturing clusters the Carlisle and Furness areas with Lancashire, Greater Manchester, stretching round in to Yorkshire.

Several events have been held across Cumbria during the 13-week consultation period.

Barry White, chief executive of TfN, said the feedback will play a crucial role in the development of the strategy, with the final version to be published later in the year and submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration.

He said: “It is clear that like us, people feel passionately about improving the connectivity of the North to allow us to function on a level playing field with the rest of the UK.

“The consultation is a unique opportunity for those living and working in the North to have their say on what matters to them in their areas with the potential of actually shaping the transport agenda.

"I’d encourage people to take up the opportunity to submit their feedback while they have the chance.”

The plan has been broadly welcomed by business leaders and politicians in Cumbria.

Investment in transport and digital infrastructure is set to feature highly on the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership led Cumbria Industrial Strategy, which is currently being developed.

TfN became England’s first sub-national transport body on April 5 at a meeting which included official members Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, along with invited business leaders and senior figures from Highways England, HS2, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.