Government sets out vision for improved transport infrastructure

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Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Report was on published on 10 Match. TfL

In addition to the announcement of the National Bus Strategy, the government has published the interim Union Connectivity Review report from Sir Peter Hendy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out his vision to ‘build back better’ from coronavirus by boosting transport connectivity across and between all the regions of the UK.

The government also intends to commit £20m to develop plans for upgraded rail, road, sea and air links.

The measures were announced following the interim report of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review, published on 10 March. In June 2020, Sir Peter was tasked by the Prime Minister with exploring ways in which transport can better connect all parts of the United Kingdom.

Sir Peter’s report sets out how a UK Strategic Transport Network would help deliver this ambition.

Such a network would ‘significantly’ expand and upgrade direct transport connections in the UK across road, rail, sea and air, says the government, helping to reduce bottlenecks and stimulate economic growth.

As well as considering how transport links can better connect the UK, the Prime Minister will consider their environmental and social impact, taking into account how they will improve the quality of life of the people who use them.

The potential network will now form the main focus of Sir Peter’s continuing investigations, with his final report in the summer looking to identify specific transport upgrades that could form the backbone of the network’s ambitions.

To jump-start some of the projects identified by Sir Peter, the Government has committed £20m towards exploring the development of projects, including upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer, a key route for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland that is currently almost entirely single-carriageway.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It’s now time to build back better in a way which brings every corner of the UK closer together. 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 added: “As we build back better from Covid it is more important than ever that we level-up every corner of our great country.

“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 review into boosting the transport options connecting the UK is said to sit ‘at the centre’ of the government’s levelling up agenda, with focus on providing high-quality transport infrastructure to communities that have been passed over for investment in previous decades a key pillar of the plans.