Transport body gets green light

A huge track-mounted Kirow crane in Blackpool helping with the alterations on the tracks to Blackpool North as electrification work continues
A huge track-mounted Kirow crane in Blackpool helping with the alterations on the tracks to Blackpool North as electrification work continues

​The House of Lords​ has approved regulations for Transport for the North to become the first Sub-national Transport Body in England.

It could mean the North has its own powerful transport body shaping policy within months.

And that will be welcome news for Fylde commuters and other throughout Lancashire.

A motion will now be considered in the House of Commons on January 10 which would give the organisation the all clear to enact statutory status for the new financial year.

John Cridland, Transport for the North’s Chairman said: “Transport for the North is soon to make history as the first Sub-national Transport Body in England.

“For the first time, a united North of England will have a say in the transport priorities which can transform the fortunes of the whole region in the long-term.”

Transport for the North has secured the support of all 56 local authorities from across the North of England, including all 19 of its constituent local and combined authorities, for its draft regulations.

Statutory status will ensure that the organisation’s plans are formally considered by Government when taking decisions about transport investment in the North.

Following Transport for the North gaining statutory status, Rail North will merge with Transport for the North and become the new Sub-national Transport Body’s franchising arm.

The regulations will also give Transport for the North powers to fund organisations to deliver transport projects, to work with local authorities on road schemes, to be consulted on rail franchises, and to take forward its programme of Integrated and Smart 
Travel.

Massive improvements are beig carried out on the railway lines between Blackpool and Preston and onto Manchester, and more infrastructure schemes are being called for .

One idea is a Trans-Pennine tunnel and there are urgent calls for improvements to be made to connectivity between the East and Western sides of the North.