My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport (Geoff Hoon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am announcing today the publication of Delivering a Sustainable Transport System. This document marks the latest milestone in our longer-term planning process, setting out our goals and identifying the various challenges that future transport schemes will need to address.
The publication of Towards a Sustainable Transport System in October 2007 outlined our approach to long-term transport planning. Since then, the department has been undertaking further work and accelerating the process for identifying the strategic national corridors where we face our most immediate transport challenges. The national networks strategy group I announced on 29 October will be focusing on measures to ensure that we make best use of investment in key strategic national corridors and develop these for the longer term. The development of solutions for international networks will also be led by the department. Regions and local authorities will undertake similar work for the remaining networks.
Transport is a critical enabler for the economy and underpins many of the things we regard as important for our quality of life but we are also committed to addressing climate change, both now and for future generations.
A copy of the document has been placed in the House Library.
I am also announcing today that I am bringing forward over £1 billion of investment in improving our nation’s transport infrastructure, in particular to tackle bottlenecks and improve access to key international gateways. This comprises an extra £700 million which will be invested in major transport projects next year to accelerate government plans to cut congestion and significantly increase rail capacity. This includes:
dualling of the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool (£100 million—as part of £174 million government funding overall);
an additional 200 train carriages to relieve congestion on the Great Western, Northern and TransPennine rail franchises (£300 million);
and introducing more managed motorways schemes to make best use of our existing motorway capacity (£300 million).
Alongside that, £300 million of new government funding will be committed to speeding up the delivery of other key schemes that improve transport links to some of the UK’s most important airports and ports, as well as offering more environmentally friendly options for transporting freight. This includes:
improvements to the A180/A160 junction to enhance access to Immingham Port (£30 million);
technology improvements to enhance traffic flow on the A12 between the M25 and Ipswich, improving access to Felixstowe and Harwich ports (£60 million);
the south-east Manchester relief road, to improve access to Manchester Airport (£165 million);
and enhancements to the North London Line to enable increased movements of rail freight on this important link (£54 million).
Delivery of the A46, A12, A180/A160 and access to Manchester Airport schemes is subject to agreeing regional funding contributions and, with the exception of the A12, the completion of statutory planning processes.