Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined how the government will boost connectivity following Sir Peter Hendy’s review on the issue.
The interim report of Hendy’s union connectivity review called on a UK Strategic Transport Network to connect the country together.
The government will now look at expanding and upgrading direct transport connections in the UK across road, rail, sea and air with the hope of reducing carbon emissions by rail, as well as the overall environmental and social impact of major infrastructure schemes.
The network will now form the main focus of Hendy’s contuining review into the issue with a final report due in the summer, looking at specific transport upgrades for the network.
The government has now committed £20 million towards exploring the development of projects such as:
- improved rail connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England
- upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer – a key route for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland but almost entirely single-carriageway
- significantly faster rail links from England to Scotland,
- rail improvements in south-east Wales
The government has also announced it will continue to decarbonise domestic aviation as part of its ambition to reach net zero, including through mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels. All domestic aviation emissions are captured in carbon budgets.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will harness the incredible power of infrastructure to level up parts of our country that have too long been left off the transport map.
“This pioneering review by Sir Peter Hendy gives us the tools we need to deliver on our ambitions for a UK-wide transport network that encompasses sea, rail, and road – and I also want to cut passenger duty on domestic flights so we can support connectivity across the country.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “High-quality transport infrastructure is key to achieving that, which is why we are committed to boosting connectivity and bringing communities across the UK even closer together.
The government will work closely with devolved administrations on development studies. For example, the UK government will work closely with the Scottish Government on any feasibility study on the A75.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE said: “Devolution has been good for transport, but it has also led to a lack of attention to connectivity between the 4 nations, due to competing priorities and complex funding.
“A UK Strategic Transport Network could resolve this, with its core objective centred around levelling up across the whole of the UK.”
The government will receive the final union connectivity review recommendations ahead of the Spending Review, where it will consider and confirm funding plans for delivering improved connectivity across the UK.